Paul Newman was a gracious man and mesmerising icon (Lead)

September 27th, 2008 - 10:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Los Angeles, Sep 27 (DPA) The irresistible grin is gone, so too that unique blue flash in the eye and the stylishly tousled hair.But as Hollywood mourned Paul Newman Saturday along with movie fans all over the world, it was clear this was one star who really lived up to his status as a role model - always gracious, loyal and intelligent rather than spoiled, fickle and dumbed down.

Newman died Friday, aged 83, after a protracted battle with lung cancer. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Oscar-winning actress Joanne Woodward and their three daughters.

Newman for decades lived in the small town of Westport, Connecticut, and his movie career was never blighted by a single scandal. Instead, it was his penchant for philanthropy that grabbed the gossip headlines.

He donated to charity all the after-tax profits of the food company he founded in 1982. At the last count, his contributions from the Newman’s Own line of salad dressings, chips and sauces amounted to over $220 million. He donated millions more from his personal fortune.

Born to a prosperous Jewish father and Catholic Hungarian mother Jan 26, 1925, in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Newman was encouraged in his theatrical ambitions as a youngster and made his acting debut aged seven in his school play. He served as a tail-gunner in the Pacific during WWII and later studied acting at Yale University.

His first major role was as boxer Rocky Graziano in “Somebody Up There Likes Me” (1956) followed by a star turn opposite Elizabeth Taylor in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” in 1958, for which he was nominated for an Oscar.

But his most famous role came when be teamed up with Robert Redford for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in 1969, where the Hollywood icons played a pair of famous outlaws. They reprised their famous partnership in the 1973 movie “The Sting”.

He was again nominated for an Oscar in 1981 for his role as a mobster’s son falsely accused of murder in “Absence of Malice”, but had to wait until 1986 to collect acting’s ultimate accolade when he won an Oscar for reprising his role as Fast Eddie from “The Hustler” in Martin Scorsese’s film “The Colour of Money”.

When his son Scott died from a drug overdose in 1978, Newman and Woodward founded the Scott Newman Centre, which works to prevent substance abuse through education.

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