Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Paul Newman

Go To

"Every time I get a script it's a matter of trying to know what I could do with it. I see colors, imagery. It has to have a smell. It's like falling in love. You can't give a reason why."

Paul Leonard Newman (January 26, 1925 September 26, 2008) was an American actor.

One of the few stars to successfully make the transition from The Golden Age of Hollywood to the New Hollywood era of The '60s and The '70s, Newman appealed well to new generations with his rebellious persona and attractive image — he was ranked high in the "most attractive men" lists for many decades. He was especially famous for his blue eyes, so much so that he once joked that his epitaph could be: "Here lies Paul Newman who died a failure because his eyes turned brown." He starred in over 60 films and was nominated for an Academy Award nine times, winning once in 1986. He was also the visual basis for the comic book Silver Age Green Lantern Hal Jordan.

Aside from his acting work, Newman was also well known as a professional car racer — unlike Steve McQueen, with whom he maintained a friendly offscreen rivalry, he actually raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and even finished second — and owner in IndyCar, and for his philanthropic work. In 1982, he co-founded the food company Newman's Own with the writer A.E. Hotchner; all of its proceeds, after taxes, were and are donated to charity via a foundation. After divorcing his first wife Jackie Witte in 1958, he married actress Joanne Woodward, and they remained together for 50 years until his death (in Hollywood, a very remarked and rare feat on its own).

He was a friend of actor Robert Redford and did two films with him, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting.

Newman occasionally dabbled in directing, as well. His first film, 1968's Rachel, Rachel, netted four Oscar nominations. Sometimes a Great Notion (the first film ever aired on HBO when it launched in 1972), The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, Harry & Son, and an adaptation of The Glass Menagerie are among his other directorial credits.

For all his acting accolades, one honor he enjoyed was finding out he was on Richard Nixon's "Enemies List."

Newman died from lung cancer in 2008.

Partial filmography:

See also:

Tropes associated with Paul Newmans roles

  • Anti-Hero: His characters tend to be rebellious, non-conformists, or jaded.
  • The Charmer: Pretty much all his characters were damn near impossible not to be won over by due to his effortless charisma.
  • Cool Old Guy: From Butch Cassidy onward, he played characters who were seemingly older or wiser than the others, as a substitute father figure.
  • Creator's Favorite: He cited Slap Shot as his favourite film to make in multiple interviews and enjoyed making a film about a sport he grew up playing.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It's rare to find a film where he isn't playing one, especially in his earlier films.
  • Dueling-Stars Movie: Two memorable collaborations with his good friend Robert Redford.
  • Friendly Rivalry: With Steve McQueen (actor), although as indicated by the anecdote above the degree of friendliness is open to interpretation.
  • Happily Married: To second wife Joanne Woodward. When asked how he had maintained such a long marriage in a line of work known for extramarital affairs, he famously stated "Why would I go out for burgers, when I've got steak at home?"
  • Lovable Rogue: Most of his characters fell into this.
  • Money, Dear Boy: He appeared in When Time Ran Out... purely because he was under contract with Irwin Allen.
  • Old Shame:
    • He was so embarrassed by his film debut The Silver Chalice that he took an ad in a paper apologising for his performance. He later invited friends to screenings at his house to make fun of it.
    • He hated When Time Ran Out... so much that he dismissed it as "That volcano movie".
  • Returning War Vet: He served in the Pacific theater in World War II, as a radioman-gunner in Grumman Avenger torpedo-bombers.
  • Romance on the Set: He and Joanne Woodward fell in love while filming The Long, Hot Summer. They married soon after and remained so until Newman's death in 2008. They are still cited today as one of the rare examples of a Hollywood marriage that actually lasts.


Video Example(s):


Butch Cassidy and Sundance

[Trope Namer] Cornered by the Bolivian army with little to no chance of escape, both Butch Cassidy and Sundance decided to take their chances and go out in a blaze of glory. The film then ends with a freeze-frame of the two outlaws as they engage with the soldiers.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / BolivianArmyEnding

Media sources: