27 September 2008

What We've Got Here Is A Failure To Live Forever

Legendary screen actor Paul Newman died yesterday at the age of 83 after a long bout with cancer.

Now, you might think the title of this post is a bit crass, and even this beefcake picture I've chosen to include is perhaps not the most dignified, but I assure you, I've only got the upmost respect for Mr. Newman.

My mom, may she rest in peace, adored Paul Newman all her life, and when we see this picture of an insanely handsome man, it's easy to understand why. I think we tend to forget that celebrities get old like everyone else, and maybe we tend to forget that once upon a time, they were the Ashton Kutchers and Zac Efrons of their generation. Except that Newman was a sublime and award-winning actor.

But dammit if Newman didn't often play against his good looks, preferring to take on the roles of questionable characters and lowlifes when he very well could have taken the easy way out with those looks and become nothing more than another handsome leading man in romances and romantic comedies. No, instead he carved out a stellar career in any number of bonafide classics, along the way racking up an impressive 10 Academy Award nominations...My personal favorite would be Cool Hand Luke, in which he played the titular character, a prison inmate who bucks the warden's heavy-handed oppression, which includes in one unforgettable scene, the eating of 50 hard-boiled eggs...

Of course, we can't discuss Paul Newman without mentioning his food company, Newman's Own, which has donated all of it's $175 million (so far) profits to charity over the years. It is rare for anyone to excel in ONE field of endeavor in our lives, but Newman did it twice.

Then again, he also had a great career as a part-owner of a auto-racing team, not to mention being married to Joanne Woodward for 50 years, which is an extreme anomaly in Hollywood, so it would appear just about everything he touched was golden...

Yeah, all in all, my mom, and so many more women of her generation, had exceedingly great taste when it came to Paul Newman...May he rest in peace...

Hotcha! Hank

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