Paul Newman Film Legacy on DVD29 Sep, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Movie legend Paul Newman’s death Sept. 26 from cancer at the age of 83 silenced a life that was as much about philanthropy, family, political causes and auto racing as it was cinematic success.
Described by actor/director Kevin Spacey as “a great humble giant,” blue-eyed Newman won an Oscar (among 36 awards and 47 nominations) in 1986 for The Color of Money opposite Tom Cruise. He also received an honorary Oscar in 1994.
From The Silver Chalice in 1954 (after losing out a role in East of Eden to James Dean) to a voice-over in Cars in 2006, Newman’s career spanned five decades and included more than 100 movies and TV serials.
Noteworthy films (available on DVD) include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) from Warner Home Video, The Hustler (1961, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), Hud (1963, Paramount Home Entertainment), Cool Hand Luke (1967, Warner), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969, Fox), The Sting (1973, Universal Studios Home Entertainment), Slap Shot (1977, Universal), Absence of Malice (1981, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), The Verdict (1982, Fox), The Color of Money (1986, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment), Nobody’s Fool (1994, Paramount) and Road to Perdition (2002, Universal).
At press time it remained unclear whether any studio would re-release any Newman titles individually or in boxed sets.
Newman is one of only five actors to be nominated for an Oscar twice for playing the same role in two separate films (The Hustler and The Color of Money). He is also among six directors who directed his wife (Joanne Woodward in Rachel, Rachel in 1968) to a best actress Oscar nomination.
Despite numerous attempts to pair the two actors, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen only appeared together once in The Towering Inferno (from Fox) in 1974.
Newman, who successfully worked with Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy (after McQueen turned down the role) and The Sting, never again paired with Redford on a movie.
Newman throughout his career selectively chose roles. He reportedly turned down the roll of Harry Callahan in 1971’s Dirty Harry due to the film’s “right wing” screenplay. Other notable rejections included the original Jaws, The Eiger Sanction, Ben-Hur and Paper Moon (with his daughter Nell Potts) after director John Huston left the project.
Among a plethora of condolences and remembrances from the Hollywood community, MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said Newman’s work outside of movies (notably Newman’s Own non-profit food company and The Hole in the Wall Gang Camps for terminally ill children) would endear him eternally.
“At a time in our history when the world desperately needs citizens with the power and instinct to both create and to give back, Paul Newman will truly be missed,” Glickman said.