Paul Newman is gone. Possibly one of the coolest actors ever to walk the earth.
Who can forget him in Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or The Hustler.
Two roles that stick out in my mind are his turns as Lew Harper (aka Lew Archer) in Harper and The Drowning Pool and as aging Irish crime boss John Rooney in Road to Perdition. One other role, really a standin as the final Lew Harper movie and Lew Archer novel, was Harry Ross in the 1998 PI flick Twilight. Newman played an aging private detective benefitting from the kindness of his friends, movie mogul Jack Ames (Gene Hackman) and actress Catherine Ames (Susan Sarandon). In it, James Garner plays Raymond Hope, who looks suspiciously like an aged, corrupted Phillip Marlowe riding out his golden years on whatever graft he can find.
Newman owned every picture he was in, but was never over the top. He reminds me more of Morgan Freeman than contemporaries Hackman and Jack Nicholson. Newman defined cool in a way the Rat Pack before him couldn’t. The Rat Pack told you they were cool (and let’s be fair here, backed it up). Newman just was cool and didn’t have to say a word. No bravado. No machismo. Just effortless charisma.
We’re going to miss you, Paul.