Monday, September 29, 2008

RIP Reggie

I got a bit of unsettling news when I landed in Tucson Saturday night. Apparently, while I was in Dallas, Paul Newman passed away. I found this sadly fitting and ironic as Friday night (the 27th) I was sitting in my hotel room watching the YouTube Clip of Paul Newman Singing Plastic Jesus and holding back emotions in Cool Hand Luke. This is one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies.

I don't really know what compelled me to watch this other than the fact that it had been in my head almost constantly for about 6 hours, it continued to be in my head through today, and probably will be for awhile as it is a very catchy tune. I spent the last few days, as I wandered the Dallas Convention Center and Dallas' West End humming to myself about "colors pink and pleasant" and a "pedestal of Abalone Shells" as well as Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and a "Sweet Madonna dressed in Rhinestones". I'm not a religious person so it is not often that I sing old Church Folksongs to myself.

Again, it was very sad to hear of the passing of Paul Newman from Cancer. I could at this point go on, at length, about the many things that this man has done in the fields of acting and activism from racing to fund-raising but the bottom line is anyone who has seen any of his movies, loves Paul Newman. I made the wife watch Cool Hand Luke less than 2 weeks ago (which could very easily be why the song was stuck in my head this past weekend). If you haven't seen it, I highly suggest buying or renting it and while you're there scan for any other Paul Newman movie, you will most likely not be disappointed.

So I scanned the internet for some clips of Paul Newman. If you are not familiar with the man, please watch them and become familiar with him. If you are familiar I'm sure you remember the man who played real-life legends Rocky Grazino (Boxer), Billy the Kid (American Outlaw), Butch Cassidy (Bank Robber), Judge Roy Bean (Saloon Judge - The Law West of the Pecos), Buffalo Bill Cody (Wild West Showman/Namesake for the AFC East Leaders), Leslie Groves (Head of the Atomic Bomb developing Manahattan Prject), Gov. Earl Long (Lousianna Eccentric Governer). Beyond those historically famous (and infamous) characters he gave us Brick Politt, Hud Bannon, Luke Jackson, Henry Gondorff, Frank Galvin, Sidney Mussburger, Doug Roberts, "Sully". He also gave to the world of sports with the portrayals of the aforementioned Graziano, "Fast" Eddie Felson (twice and 45 years before 'Fast' Willie Parker was so named), Frank Capua, and of course Reggie Dunlop (Player/Coach for the Charlestown Chiefs).

During his career he replaced James Dean in a leading role as a virtual unkown (due to Dean's untimely death) and starred alongside Steve McQueen, Orson Welles, James Best, Elizabeth Taylor, Burl Ives, Joan Collins, Jackie Gleason, Sidney Poitier, Ed Begley, Rip Torn, Eva Gabor, William Shatner, Robert Wagner, Shelley Winters, Julie Andrews, Alfred Hitchcock, George Kennedy, Robert Redford, Sam Elliott, Cloris Leachman, Anthony Perkins, Henry Fonda, Lee Marvin, Strother Martin, Ned Beatty, Fred Astaire, O.J. Simpson, Harvey Keitel, The Hanson Brothers, Bruce Willis, Jack Warden, Morgan Freeman, Tom Cruise, Forest Whitaker, John Cusack, John C. McGinley, John Wayne, Dustin Hoffman, Tim Robbins, Bruce Campbell (yes, The Bruce Campbell), Jessica Tandy, Gene Hackman, Susan Surandon, Kevin Costner, Tom Hanks, a pre-Bond Daniel Craig, Ed Harris, Phillip Seymor Hoffman, Dennis Farina, and of course shared the road with many stars in his voice acting during the movie Cars.

He headlined most of his movies and was in movies with Taglines such as:
"M.G.M presents a most important motion picture" - Somebody Up There Likes Me
"Paul Newman, a wonderful new star!" - The Rack
"They called him "Fast Eddie"... He was a winner... He was a loser... He was a hustler" - The Hustler
"The man with the barbed wire soul!" - Hud
"Paul Newman is 'Harper' and Harper does it better" - Harper
"Hombre means MAN... Paul Newman is HOMBRE!" - Hombre
"On the chain gang, they'd seen every kind of man...but Luke became a legend" - Cool Hand Luke
"Winning is... everything" - Winning
"You never met a pair like Butch and The Kid" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
"you'll see Paul Newman doing things you'd never expect him to do... saying things you'd never expect him to say!" - Slap Shot
"One man against the world." - Quintet
"Another con. Another sting. Another day." - Where the Money Is

He drove indycars on and off film and rode horses, he escaped from prisons (plural as in more than one), and robbed banks, he scored goals, grifted, conned, and hustled. He got in fights (both with fists and with guns), Cut down trees, Boxed many men, shot many men, and loved many women (starring often alongside his wife Joanne in many films).

Rest In Peace Mr. Newman, you're free from the Chain Gang Now: