Paul Newman succumbed to cancer at age 83. Much has been written about him since that sad news flashed across my tv. Oscar winning actor, humanitarian, as handsome as they come, high integrity, great family man, accomplished race-car driver.
Paul Newman was always one of my favorites. I’m trying to think of a more likeable actor than him, and I cannot. Tom Hanks comes close. But Newman was an icon and cool in a way that Hanks will never approach.
In no particular order, here are my five favorite Paul Newman movies:
Slap Shot. Newman plays the coach of a really bad hockey team. One of the funniest sports movies ever made, Slap Shot was the Rocky antidote. The team, short on talent, turns to violence and fighting to salvage their season. I still remember Newman in that fur coat.
The Verdict. Many thought this was Paul Newman’s finest performance as an aging alcoholic lawyer trying to win a medical malpractice suit. Finely nuanced and unflinchingly unsympathetic. Newman got better with age. Not true with most actors.
The Sting. Paul Newman and Robert Redford team up again in this Oscar-winning picture in which they play con men in 1930s Chicago. Newman and Redford paved the way for Clooney and Pitt.
The Hustler. Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, George C. Scott in one of the classic movies of all time. Newman plays an up-and-coming pool player named “Fast Eddie” who plays long time champion Minnesota Fats. This is the movie that made Newman a star.
The Color of Money. Twenty five years after the Hustler, Fast Eddie plays again and Paul Newman wins his first and only Oscar. Newman always comes across like he is two steps ahead of everyone else. Maybe it’s something in the eyes. Favorite quote: “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”