Terrible news: Paul Newman dead. Remember his life..

29 09 2008

“It’s absolutely amazing that I survived all the booze and smoking and the cars and the career…”

These words can describe all his life. He was a wonderful actor, wins Academy-Award as superstar who personified cool as an activist, the anti-hero of such films as “Hud,” “Cool Hand Luke” and “The Color of Money” and most importantly to us. But he also remembered as racing enthusiast.

Everyone knew Newman was a giant, but most don’t know the eight-time CART winner made just as great of a correct on racing as he made in every other effort he embarked ahead. Read on as our venerated Editor-at-Large helps to tell the tale only the fortunate few of us know.

Read more (+photo) …

It was 1972 when 47-year-old Paul Newman — adopting the shorthand P. L. Newman — strapped into a Lotus Elan at Connecticut’s Thompson International Speedway. History remembers little besides about the ice-wretched-eyed actor’s first time performing behind the sweep of the sports car excluding this: It was the seed flash of a next career for a guy whose first career was nothing to sneeze at.

Newman had picked up the racing bug filming the 1969 Indy 500 drama “Winning.” Two decades later, P.L. became the oldest driver to compete on a winning panel in a major penalized dash, the 24 Hours of Daytona, at the age of 70. His life was a tribe well-run in various stages, one whose check pennant came nowadays as Newman lost a campaign with cancer at the age of 83.

It was logic actors like Newman and fellow racer Steve McQueen who recast Hollywood movies from detached, escapist stories to tenacious, makeup-ambitious narratives that fixed with the struggles of their time. Newman brought the same vigor to racing, as his methodic skills of eloquent and feeling taught by Stanislavski and Strasberg made him hardnosed behind the turn.

In “Winning,” Newman played a hungry Indy 500 competitor sidestepping marital troubles (with unfeigned-life consort Joanne Woodward) and barely managing a detached relationship with a stepson (Richard Thomas). To hardcore racing fans, “Winning” wasn’t somewhat “Grand Prix” or Steve McQueen’s “Le Mans.” It had too much private drama and not enough action, although some spectacular on-location scenes at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and cameos by Bobby Unser, Dan Gurney and other Indy myths. Nevertheless like McQueen, Newman was an actor, a real actor, for whom, his part in “Winning” was the show; the racing was just commotion-situation. Soon enough, he would back that equation.

During the 1970s Newman earned four SCCA general titles. In 1976 he took the D-Production seminar championship in a Triumph TR-6 once owned by racer Bob Tullius. In 1979 he took the C-Production hall in a Bob Sharp Datsun 280ZX, and in 1985 and 1986 he won the GT-1 in a Sharp Nissan 300ZX. In 1979 Newman co-herd a Porsche 935 with party landlord Dick Barbour and Rolf Stommelen to second place in the 24 Hours of LeMans. Most just he was the co-vendor of IndyCar team Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR). Drivers for NHLR have included Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Paul Tracy, Cristiano da Matta, and Sebastien Bourdais.

Late this gone summer Newman’s de facto home imprints of Lime Rock Park in Connecticut stopped for a morning to let the gravely ill actor-driver make a few last turns around the newly repaved course. P.L. took out his Corvette GT car — number 81 — which his friends say he’d still been beating at 9/10ths into his early 80s, along with his beloved Buick V8 powered Volvo posting cart.

As if it still wanted to be said, Newman was also a philanthropist, funneling hundreds of millions of dollars from the trade of lemonade, popcorn, cookies, salad dressing, tomato sauce and other yield into charities with his own Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a residential summer camp in Connecticut for children with crucial illnesses.

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One response

10 01 2009
coffee fiend

Paul Newman is a legend for his work in movies, and he’s a stud for all his work outside of movies

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