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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Paul Newman Is No More

Among icons of Hollywood cinema we consider the following inevitably ineluctable and their craft ineffable. For their towering personlities, presence on screen and off it, and for their dedication to their craft in spite of setbacks. They didn't just fade away as Indian stars (except Amitabh) do, but kept on pursuing their careers and acting dreams, and at age 78 Clint Eastwood still makes moves (sorry movies!).

Paul Newman
Gene Hackman
Robert Redford
Clint Eastwood
Burt Reynolds

And, we say this with some shame, Paul Newman, the one with piercing grey eyes and a set of the mouth that we enjoyed watching, the one with the taciturn and brooding presence, and star of movies such as Towering Inferno, The Verdict, The Sting, and many others I haven't seen, IS DEAD. "Just impossible" we said when we heard the news, we thought stars DON'T DIE but they fade away like Suraiya, Kishore Kumar, Meena KUmari, Raj Kapoor, Catherine Hepburn, and the like. Their roles get shorter, their presence less commanding, and the gossip rags are rude and stop featuring their mug shots.

But Paul Newman was a favourite, a strong solid and dependable actor and here's what his friend Robert Redford writes about him in this article

"The friendship that grew out of the experience of making that film and The Sting four years later had its genesis in the fact that although there was an age difference, we both came from a tradition of theater and live TV. We were respectful of craft and focused on digging into the characters we were going to play. Both of us were fundamentally American actors, with the qualities and virtues that characterize American actors: irreverence, playing on the other's flaws for fun, one-upmanship — but always with an underlying affection. Those were also at the core of our relationship off the screen."

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