I'm Bob Doughty.
Shirley Griffith with People in America in VOA Special English. Today we tell
about the award-winning actor Paul Newman. He was known for his striking good
looks and clear blue eyes. Newman starred in over sixty-five movies during his
more than fifty-year career. Some of his most famous roles were in the movies
"The Hustler", "Hud", "Butch Cassidy
and the Sundance Kid" and "The Verdict." Paul Newman was also a social
activist, racecar driver and businessman.
COOL HAND LUKE: "I know
I'm a pretty evil fellow. Killed people in the war and I got drunk and chewed
up municipal property and the like. I know I got no call to ask for much, but
even so you gotta admit, you ain't dealt me no cards in a long time. It's
beginning to look like you got things fixed so I can't never win out. Inside,
outside… all them rules and regulations and bosses. You made me like I am! And
just where am I supposed to fit in?"
That was a scene from the nineteen sixty-seven movie
"Cool Hand Luke." In this movie set in a jail, Paul Newman plays the role of
Luke Jackson, a smart but rebellious prisoner who gets in trouble for doing
things his own way.
movie gives a good example of Paul Newman's intelligent style of acting. He was
known for playing characters who were imperfect but very likeable. He expressed
an emotional complexity and thoughtfulness in his characters that seemed
Leonard Newman was born in Cleveland, Ohio in nineteen twenty-five. His father,
Arthur Newman, ran a successful sporting goods store. His mother, Theresa
Newman, loved the theater. She influenced her son Paul to act in school plays.
During World War Two, Newman served as an airplane radio operator. He later
studied at Kenyon College in Ohio. There, he played football and continued
performing in plays.
Newman did not think that acting was a sensible kind of job. But, he agreed to
support his son for a year while Paul performed with small theater companies.
nineteen fifty, Paul Newman returned to Cleveland with his new wife,
Jacqueline, to manage the family store after his father's death. But the couple
soon left Cleveland so that Paul Newman could study theater at Yale University
years later, Paul Newman received a role in the Broadway play "Picnic." The
play ran for fourteen months. It was while working on this play that he met the
actress Joanne Woodward.
this period, Paul Newman also found roles on television shows. He studied at
the Actors Studio in New York with actors who would also become famous,
including James Dean and Marlon Brando.
Newman's first movie, "The Silver Chalice," came out in nineteen fifty-four. He
later said that it was the worst movie ever made. Critics agreed. But his
nineteen fifty-six movie, "Somebody Up There Likes Me," was a success that
brought him increased public attention. Newman made many movies during the late
nineteen fifties. These include "The Rack", "The Left-Handed Gun" and "Cat on a
Hot Tin Roof", which starred Elizabeth Taylor.
Newman married Joanne Woodward in nineteen fifty-eight after divorcing his
first wife the year before. They made
ten movies together. The first was
"The Long, Hot Summer." The movie is based on stories by the American
writer William Faulkner.
plays a strong, good-looking, young man named Ben Quick. He arrives in a small
town in Mississippi after being kicked out of another town because he is
accused of burning a barn. He gets a
job with Will Varner, who owns just about everything in the town. Varner likes Quick so much that he arranges
for him to marry his daughter, Clara, a schoolteacher. But Clara, played by Joanne Woodward, has
" I gave up on him when I was nine years old and I gave up on you the
first time I ever looked in those cold, blue eyes."
"You got the color right."
CLARA: "I've got everything right, Mister
"Well, I can see you don't like me, but you're gonna have me. It's gonna be you and me."
"Not the longest day I live."
"Yes, sir. They're gonna say,
'There goes that poor old Clara Varner, whose father married her off to a
dirt-scratching, shiftless, no-good farmer who just happened by.' Well, let 'em talk. I'll tell you one thing, you're gonna wake up
in the morning smiling."
Newman and Joanne Woodward decided not to live in Hollywood, California like
most other film stars. They lived a very private life in Westport, Connecticut.
They would remain married for fifty years.
They raised three daughters. Newman had three other children with his
Newman continued making successful movies. "The Hustler" came out in nineteen
EDDIE:" How should I play that one, Bert? Play it
safe? That's the way you always told me to play it, safe, play the percentage.
Well, here we go, fast and loose. One ball, corner pocket. Yeah, percentage
players die broke too, don't they, Bert?"
movie, Newman plays a pool player named Fast Eddie Felson who competes for
money against the expert player Minnesota Fats.
EDDIE: "I'm mean, it's not enough that you just have
talent, you gotta have character too. Four ball."
later, he played the title role in "Hud." The movie is about a man who lives
and works on his father's cattle farm. Newman said people were supposed to hate
his character, Hud. But instead he said he created a folk hero. Paul Newman
starred with Robert Redford in two very popular movies, "Butch Cassidy and the
Sundance Kid" and "The Sting."
directed his wife, Joanne Woodward, in several movies that were praised by
critics. These include "Rachel, Rachel" which came out in nineteen sixty-eight
and "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds" four years later.
career, Newman was nominated for ten Academy Awards. He won for his performance
in the nineteen eighty-six film, "The Color of Money". This movie continues the
story of Fast Eddie that began with "The Hustler." In nineteen eighty-two,
Newman starred in "The Verdict".
FRANK GALVIN: "You know, so much of the time we're just lost…"
movie is about an alcoholic lawyer named Frank Galvin who finds a chance to
make up for his failing career in a medical case. Newman's performance during
his character's closing argument to the jury is very powerful.
FRANK GALVIN: "But
today you are the law. You are the law, not some book, not the lawyers, not a
marble statue, or the trappings of the court. See, those are just symbols of
our desire to be just."
Newman was not only a movie star. He was a political activist who fought for
liberal causes. In nineteen sixty-eight, he campaigned for the Democratic Party
presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy. Newman protested the Vietnam War in
front of the American Embassy in London. He expressed great pride that he was
named on President Richard Nixon's list of enemies.
Newman also worked on social issues important to him. In nineteen
seventy-eight, his twenty-eight year old son Scott died of an accidental
overdose of drugs and alcohol. In response, Paul Newman created the Scott
Newman Center to help educate children and families on preventing drug abuse.
nineteen eighties, Newman decided to start selling a salad dressing he had
created and given to many friends as gifts. The "Newman's Own" company he
started with his friend A. E. Hotchner became a huge success selling different
food products. Over the years, more than two hundred fifty million dollars in
company profits have been donated to social causes and organizations.
these is the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, started by Paul Newman in nineteen
eighty-eight. Its aim is to provide a
free summer camp experience to children with cancer and other serious diseases.
There are now camps in the United States and several other countries. Newman said that he started the organization
as a way to honor the role that luck has played in his life. He said that the
camps are a way to help children who are unfairly affected by luck's cruelty.
Newman discovered his love of racing cars while making the nineteen sixty-nine
movie "Winning." He even began racing professionally. In nineteen ninety-five,
at the age of seventy, Newman competed and won at the Daytona races in Florida.
The Guinness Book of World Records listed him as the oldest winner in his race
nineteen nineties he continued to act in movies, including "Mister And Missus
Bridge", "Message in a Bottle" and
"Nobody's Fool." And, in two thousand two he returned to Broadway one last time
to perform in "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder.
died in two thousand eight of cancer. He was eighty-three years old. He was a
true star both as an actor and a human being.
program was written and produced by Dana Demange. I'm Bob Doughty.
Shirley Griffith. You can learn more about famous Americans on our Web site,
voaspecialenglish.com. Join us again next week for People in America in VOA