WESTPORT, Conn. (AP) — Paul Newman, the Academy-Award winning superstar who personified cool as the anti-hero of such films as ”Hud,” ”Cool Hand Luke” and ”The Color of Money” — and as an activist, race car driver and popcorn impresario — has died. He was 83.
Paul Newman didn’t seem to care about superstardom, glamour, fashion, power and all that stuff. This made him one of the coolest humans alive. He was spectacular and he knew it, and he knew that everyone knew it, so he forgot about his looks altogether. Which made him even more spectacular.
I saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid on TV when I was a kid. To me Robert Redford was purty but Newman was The guy. Then I saw Cool Hand Luke on TV late one night. My parents thought I was asleep, but I was watching Paul Newman as a prison inmate eat 60 or so hard-boiled eggs on a bet. In Cool Hand Luke he keeps trying to break out of prison and getting caught, and getting the crap beaten out of him, and trying again. I didn’t think this was stupid, I thought it was heroic. Much later I rented a laser disc of Hud. The character of Hud Bannon is supposed to be despicable. To paraphrase Pauline Kael, was it even possible to despise Paul Newman? Look, his popcorn was great. Go watch some Paul Newman movies.