R.I.P. — Paul Newman

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Paul Newman, the legendary film star and philanthropist, died of cancer at his home in Westport, CT at the age of 83 surrounded by friends, family and his wife of 50 years, actress Joanne Woodward.

Newman’s acting career spanned six decades and three mediums — including stage, film, and television. He made his Broadway debut in 1953 in William Inge’s “Picnic” and soon after launched a movie career as the consummate anti-hero in classics like Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Hud. His chiseled features, piercing blue eyes, and charismatic bad boy persona made him an iconic sex symbol and solid box office draw.

A 10-time Oscar nominee, Newman earned his first Best Actor nomination as Elizabeth Taylor’s ambiguously gay husband in Tennessee WilliamsCat on a Hot Tin Roof. In real life, Newman and Woodward were outspoken supporters of gay rights even before being gay friendly was fashionable — or even acceptable — in Hollywood.

Newman would eventually win the Academy Award for reprising the role of Fast Eddie Felson in Martin Scorsese‘s The Color of Money, a sequel to another classic The Hustler. He earned two additional honorary Oscars, including a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award — thanks in part to his infamous salad dressing. To date, Newman’s Own — the non-profit food company that he founded on a lark — has donated over $250 million — mainly to children’s charities.

More recently, Newman won an Emmy for his supporting role in the 2005 miniseries “Empire Falls.” Previously he had earned both an Emmy nod and a Tony nomination as the Stage Manager in a made-for-TV remake and Broadway revival of “Our Town.”

As a lifelong liberal activist, one of Newman’s proudest achievements was his inclusion on Richard Nixon’s enemies list for his support of “radic-lib causes.” Newman occupied the 19th slot on Charles Colson‘s original list of 20 political opponents.

In Memoriam — Paul Newman: 1925 – 2008

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