27 September 2008

Paul Newman

Crud. Wake up in the morning and discover that Paul Newman is dead. And I was feeling so good after the debate last night between Barack Obama and Maximilian Schell McGrumpyPants.

I have a special affection for Mr. Newman, and no, it has nothing to do with the various pasta sauces and salad dressings that carry his name. It doesn't have much to do with his humanitarianism and charitable giving, although that certainly deserves the highest praise. He was a great actor, one the real classic screen personalities, but that isn't the reason for my special connection to him. And yes, getting on Nixon's "Enemies List" is a special and laudable achievement, but that's not what ultimately endears him to me.

No, it's really a small thing that counts. Paul Newman and I share the same birthday, January 26th. Every year when my birthday comes up, I check up on all the celebrities who are also celebrating their birthdays. Paul Newman's face was always there, and I watched in astonishment at his rising age: he always seemed so young to me, even as he rose into his eighties. And now that he's gone it's hard for me to imagine that on my next birthday, Paul Newman won't be another year older. He belongs to cinematic eternity now, that sepia-toned final shot from his most famous film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

"I've got vision. The rest of the world wears bi-focals."

How true Paul, how true.