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Remembering Paul Newman
by Betty Jo Tucker

When Paul Newman decided to retire from acting last year, heres what I wrote for my Memosaic blog:

Okay, I know Newman is 82 years old and not the handsome hunk he once was. But, even now, he exudes more charisma and dramatic talent than many current young stars. Still, if he wants to back away from acting at this point in his life, Newman can rest on some incredible laurels.

To me, Newmans bravura work in The Verdict ranks as one of the finest performances ever filmed. And who can forget his brilliance in such movies as Hud, Cool Hand Luke, Road to Perdition, Hombre, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting and The Color of Money?

Thank you, Paul Newman, for the great pleasure your splendid acting has given me through the years.

After hearing about Newmans death from cancer yesterday, Im very sad indeed. Thanks to my ReelTalk colleagues who e-mailed me comments about this great actor and his movies upon learning of his passing. 

Donald Levit said that Hombre is one of Newmans best films, and Diana Saenger sent the following list of her favorites:

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof


Cool Hand Luke

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

The Hustler


The Sting

Adam Hakari wrote: If we're talking about Newman's films, then I'd say The Sting is hands-down my all- time Newman favorite. It's an intricate and entertaining caper, and I find something new every time I watch it. As for performances, though, Newman's turn in Road to Perdition stands out as his finest hour. Newman was both chilling and sympathetic as an aging mob boss and mentor to Tom Hanks's character. It was a role that displayed Newman's great versatility as well as his ability to convince the audience to care about a character no matter how dastardly he turned out to be.

Jeffrey Chen picked Paul Newman's performance in Cool Hand Luke as the standout for him. I'd seen him in his partner-ups with Robert Redford, and understood he was a screen icon, but I don't think I really got it until I saw Luke.  He commanded the screen all to himself -- manly, charismatic, tough, and humorous.  I could always see his dignity and wry charm, but this movie helped me to see why he was a star. I'm sad to know he's gone, but he definitely left his mark.

Paul Newman will be missed. Were  fortunate he left us so many wonderful performances we can still enjoy by watching his films on DVD. 

(The Verdict Poster. 1982 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.)

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