Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Legend Is Gone

Paul Newman, one of the silver screen's legendary actors, who carved out an indelible career that reached far beyond Hollywood, passed away Sept. 26 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 83. The actor, whose career spanned more than 50 years, was also a noted activist, entrepreneur and race car driver.

Easily one of the most respected and charismatic actors of his or any generation, Newman's list of movie credits are substantial and impressive. Consider some of these career highlights by decade: (1950s) – "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"; (1960s) – "The Hustler," "Cool Hand Luke," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"; (1970s) – "The Sting," "Slap Shot"; (1980s) – "The Verdict," "The Color of Money" (1990s) – "Nobody's Fool"; (2000s) – "Road to Perdition," "Cars."

A 10-time Oscar nominee, Newman only won the award once, for 1986's "The Color of Money," when he reprised his role as pool shark Fast Eddie Felson. The role was originated in 1961's "The Hustler." Ironically, he was given an honorary Oscar for his outstanding body of work in 1986 – the same year he took the role in Martin Scorsese's "The Color of Money," starring alongside Tom Cruise, fresh off his star-making role in "Top Gun." He would receive a second honorary Oscar in 1994, recognizing his charitable work.

Aside from his substantial amount of time and effort committed to various charities over the years, Newman also launched Newman's Own in 1982, which consisted of a line of food products covering everything from microwave popcorn to salad dressing. The products have expanded over the years to include salsa, lemonade and more, with many of them lining the shelves at your local grocery store.

His passing is best summed up by his most notable co-star and longtime friend Robert Redford: "There is a point where feelings go beyond words. I have lost a real friend. My life and this country is better for his being in it."

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