Paul Newman

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I don't think there's anything exceptional or noble in being philanthropic. It's the other attitude that confuses me.

Paul Leonard Newman (January 26, 1925September 26, 2008) was an American actor and film director. He won numerous awards, including Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Cannes Film Festival Award and an Emmy award. Considered an iconic figure in Hollywood history, he was also the founder of Newman's Own, a food company from which Newman donates all profits and royalties to charity.

Quotes[edit]

  • I'd like to be remembered as a guy who tried — tried to be part of his times, tried to help people communicate with one another, tried to find some decency in his own life, tried to extend himself as a human being. Someone who isn't complacent, who doesn't cop out.
    • Quoted in The Films of Paul Newman (1971) by Lawrence J. Quirk (Citadel Press), ISBN 0-806-50385-8), p. 36
  • I've repeatedly said that for people as little in common as Joanne and myself, we have an uncommonly good marriage. We are actors, we make pictures — and that's about all we have in common. Maybe that's enough. Wives shouldn't feel obligated to accompany their husbands to a ball game, husbands do look a bit silly attending morning coffee breaks with the neighbourhood wives when most men are out at work. Husbands and wives should have separate interests, cultivate different sets of friends — and not impose one upon the other.
I'd like to be remembered as a guy who tried — tried to be part of his times, tried to help people communicate with one another, tried to find some decency in his own life, tried to extend himself as a human being.
  • I was terrorized by the emotional requirements of being an actor. Acting is like letting your pants down; you're exposed.
  • I wasn't driven to acting by any inner compulsion. I was running away from the sporting goods business.
    • Quoted in John Skow, "Verdict on a Superstar," Time (1982-12-06)
  • Acting is a question of absorbing other people's personalities and adding some of your own experiences.
  • I was always a character actor. I just looked like Little Red Riding Hood.
  • The first time I remember women reacting to me was when we were filming Hud in Texas. Women were literally trying to climb through the transoms at the motel where I stayed. At first, it's flattering to the ego. At first. Then you realize that they're mixing me up with the roles I play — characters created by writers who have nothing to do with who I am.
    • Quoted in Paul and Joanne: A Biography of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward by Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein (Delacorte Press, 1988, ISBN 0-440-50004-4), p. 96
I've been accused of being aloof. I'm not. I'm just wary.
  • I don't like to discuss my marriage, but I will tell you something which may sound corny but which happens to be true. I have steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger?
    • Quoted in Paul and Joanne: A Biography of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward by Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein (1988), p. 157
  • I've been accused of being aloof. I'm not. I'm just wary.
    • Quoted in Paul and Joanne: A Biography of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward by Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein (1988), p. 314
  • I had no natural gift to be anything — not an athlete, not an actor, not a writer, not a director, a painter of garden porches — not anything. So I've worked really hard, because nothing ever came easily to me.
  • Building weapons that we don’t need, don’t work, and aren’t necessary, and have no mission — that’s not bad politics, that’s robbery.
  • The concept that a person who has a lot holds his hand out to someone who has less, or someone who isn't hurting holds his hand out to someone who is, is simply a human trait that has nothing to do with celebrity. I am confounded at the stinginess of some institutions and some people. I'm bewildered by it. You can only put away so much stuff in your closet. In 1987, the average CEO against someone who was working in his factory was 70 times. It's now 410 times.
  • I don't think there's anything exceptional or noble in being philanthropic. It's the other attitude that confuses me.
    • Quoted in "Paul Newman's Road To Glory", interview with Paul Fischer, Film Monthly (2002-07-01)
  • To that extent that you can sustain and maintain that childlike part of your personality is probably the best part of acting.
    • Quoted in "Paul Newman's Road To Glory", interview with Paul Fischer, Film Monthly (2002-07-01)
  • I cannot bear to look at a film that I made before 1990. Maybe 1985. There's no sense even trying to explain it. I really just can't watch myself. I see all the machinery at work and it just drives me nuts, so I don't look at anything.
  • When I realized I was going to have to be a whore, to put my face on the label, I decided that the only way I could do it was to give away all the money we make. Over the years, that ethical stance has given us a 30 per cent boost. One in three customers buys my products because all the profits go to good causes and the rest buy the stuff because it is good.
  • It's all been a bad joke that just ran out of control. I got into food for fun but the business got a mind of its own. Now — my good Lord — look where it has gotten me. My products are on supermarket shelves, in cinemas, in the theater. And they say show business is odd.
    • Quoted in "Saint Paul," interview with John Aldridge, The Guardian (2005-04-10)
  • I like racing but food and pictures are more thrilling. I can't give them up. In racing you can be certain, to the last thousandth of a second, that someone is the best, but with a film or a recipe, there is no way of knowing how all the ingredients will work out in the end. The best can turn out to be awful and the worst can be fantastic. Cooking is like performing and performing like cooking.
    • Quoted in "Saint Paul," interview with John Aldridge, The Guardian (2005-04-10)
  • I'm like a good cheese. I'm just getting mouldy enough to be interesting.
    • Quoted in "Saint Paul," interview with John Aldridge, The Guardian (2005-04-10)
  • I never ask my wife about my flaws. Instead I try to get her to ignore them and concentrate on my sense of humor. You don't want any woman to look under the carpet because there's lots of flaws underneath. Joanne believes my character in a film we did together, "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" comes closest to who I really am. I personally don't think there's one character who comes close... but I learned a long time ago not to disagree on things that I don't have a solid opinion about.
    • Quoted in Craig Modderno, "Newman remains animated at 81," Reuters (2006-06-12)
  • Study your craft and know who you are and what's special about you. Find out what everyone does on a film set, ask questions and listen. Make sure you live life, which means don't do things where you court celebrity, and give something positive back to our society.
    • Quoted in Craig Modderno, "Newman remains animated at 81," Reuters (2006-06-12)
  • I started my career giving a clinic in bad acting in the film, "The Silver Chalice," and now I'm playing a crusty old man who's an animated automobile [in "Cars"]. That's a creative arc for you, isn't it?
    • Quoted in Craig Modderno, "Newman remains animated at 81," Reuters (2006-06-12)
  • It's like chasing a beautiful woman for 80 years. Finally, she relents and you say, "I am terribly sorry. I'm tired."
  • To be an actor, you have to be a child.
    • Quoted in Paul Newman: A Life in Pictures, ed. Yann-Brice Dherbier and Pierre-Henri Verlhac (Chronicle Books, 2006), p. 88
  • Men experience many passions in a lifetime. One passion drives away the one before it.
    • Quoted in Paul Newman: A Life in Pictures, ed. Yann-Brice Dherbier and Pierre-Henri Verlhac (2006), p. 93
  • A man with no enemies is a man with no character.
    • Quoted in Paul Newman: A Life in Pictures, ed. Yann-Brice Dherbier and Pierre-Henri Verlhac (2006), p. 120
    • Variant: If you don't have enemies, you don't have character.
      • As quoted in Words of Wisdom : From the Greatest Minds of All Time (2004) by Mick Farren
  • Twenty-five years ago I couldn't walk down the street without being recognized. Now I can put a cap on, walk anywhere and no one pays me any attention. They don't ask me about my movies and they don't ask me about my salad dressing because they don't know who I am. Am I happy about this? You bet.
  • Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.
    • Quoted in "Paul Newman: A Life in Pictures" - Page 110 - by Yann-Brice Dherbier, Pierre-Henri Verlhac - 2006
  • Just when things look darkest, they go black.
    • Quoted in "The New Book of Magical Names" - Page 100 - by Phoenix McFarland - 2003
  • People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked.
    • Quoted in "Paul Newman: A Life in Pictures" - Page 74 - by Yann-Brice Dherbier, Pierre-Henri Verlhac - 2006

About Paul Newman[edit]

  • He makes it look so easy, and he looks so wonderful, that everybody assumes he isn't acting.
  • He is the most private man I've ever known. He has a moat and a drawbridge which he lets down only occasionally.
  • He has the attention span of a bolt of lightning.
    • Robert Redford, quoted in Maureen Dowd, "Testing Himself," The New York Times (1986-09-28), section 6, page 16, column 1
  • He has a good character, and not many people do. I think he would rather not do anything wrong, whether on a moral or an artistic level. He is what you would call a man of conscience — not necessarily of judgment, but of conscience. I don't know any actors like that.
  • Paul likes to test himself. That's what makes Paul run. He's got a lot of courage, a highly underrated element in people's lives these days.
    • Joanne Woodward, quoted in in John Skow, "Verdict on a Superstar," Time (1982-12-06)

External links[edit]

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