Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman is Dead

And a lot of what was good about this world is gone from it. Paul Newman was a movie icon, an American icon, a great actor, completely badass, was married to the same woman for 50 years, a true philanthropist who went beyond your usual Hollywood $10,000 per natural disaster and whose foundation will continue to give and whose camps will continue to improve lives, and a gorgeous and graceful human being. If you have a chance, read this excellent Vanity Fair article on Mr Newman.

Here's the statement issued by Newman's Own Foundation:

Paul had an abiding belief in the role that luck plays in one's life, and its randomness. He was quick to acknowledge the good fortune he had in his own life, beginning with being born in America, and was acutely aware of how unlucky so many others were. True to his character, he quietly devoted himself to helping offset this imbalance.

An exceptional example is the legacy of Newman's Own. What started as something of a joke in the basement of his home, turned into a highly-respected, multi-million-dollar-a-year food company. And true to form, he shared this good fortune by donating all the profits and royalties he earned to thousands of charities around the world, a total which now exceeds $250 million.

While his philanthropic interests and donations were wide-ranging, he was especially committed to the thousands of children with life-threatening conditions served by the Hole in the Wall Camps, which he helped start over 20 years ago. He saw the Camps as places where kids could escape the fear, pain and isolation of their conditions, kick back and raise a little hell. Today, there are 11 Camps around the world, with additional programs in Africa and Vietnam. Through the Camps, well over 135,000 children have had the chance to experience what childhood was meant to be.

In Paul's words: "I wanted to acknowledge luck; the chance and benevolence of it in my life, and the brutality of it in the lives of others, who might not be allowed the good fortune of a lifetime to correct it."

Paul took advantage of what life offered him, and while personally reluctant to acknowledge that he was doing anything special, he forever changed the lives of many with his generosity, humor, and humanness. His legacy lives on in the charities he supported and the Hole in the Wall Camps, for which he cared so much.

We will miss our friend Paul Newman, but are lucky ourselves to have known such a remarkable person.

I just ran out and bought some Newman's Own lemonade (pink!) and I was not-quite-surprised to see that Morton Williams was down to the last 5 or 6 cartons on the shelf. You can watch some of his movies on-demand at Amazon. And now all the guys on my wall (behind my desk) are dead.

Decency seems to have come easily to Mr. Newman himself, as evidenced by his philanthropic and political endeavors, which never devolved into self-promotion. It was easy to take his intelligence for granted as well as his talent, which survived even the occasional misstep. At the end of “The Drowning Pool,” a woman wistfully tells Mr. Newman, I wish you’d stay a while. I know how she feels. [Manohla Dargis]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This really came as quite a shock - some things (and some people) are just supposed to go on forever...


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