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30 Interesting Facts Fans Probably Didn’t Know About Paul Newman

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Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor and a director, who has won numerous awards. He was also into professional racing and owned a team. Here are 30 facts to know about the actor:

  1. He graduated from Shaker Heights High School in 1943 and joined Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He was initiated into the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity at the Ohio University, involved in giving voice in campus political affairs. In 1950 he was sent suspended for his unruly behavior.
  2. Newman showed early interest in acting when he participated in school theatre as court jester at the age of seven. He performed at the age of 10 at the Cleveland Play House and he was the most esteemed Alumni of Curtain Puller.
  3. During the World War, he enrolled in the United States Navy as a V-12 pilot training program at Yale University but dropped out due to his color blindness. He was trained as a Radioman and rear gunner in the Boot Camp in 1944, qualifying as Aviation Radioman Third Class. He was assigned to squadron responsible for training combat pilots on career landing and air crewmen.
  4. He was the turret gunner in the Avenger torpedo bomber as a replacement aboard the USS Bunker Hill in the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. His pilot’s ear infection kept their aircraft grounded and saved them from Kamikaze attack in which rest of their unit were killed.
  5. He was cast in the delightful farce Charley’s Aunt, a play produced less than a week after the Old Kenyon Fire of February 27, 1947. He dressed in demure black, he helped to lift the spirits of mourning camp with his look and convincing act that convinced all, he may be the real aunt.
  6. On December 27, 1949 at 24 years of age, he married Jackie who was 19 years. They rented a room and shared bathroom for $ 10 a month. Newman was employed in a local farm stacking corn in the field.
  7. Newman turning point in his career came when he went to help an actress friend for the audition for admission to Actors Studio. Ironically the actress who was auditioned wasn’t offered instead, Newman was admitted who hadn’t actually even applied.
  8. He made his Broadway debut in the William Inge’s Picnic with Kim Stanley. Play Picnic and Newman received great reviews when it opened on the Broadways on February 19, 1953. He named as one of the promising personality of the theatre world.
  9. He started appeared in several original Broadway productions such as ‘The Desperate Hours’ and ‘Sweet Bird of Youth.’ During these times he started acting in television and also appeared twice on the CBS’s Appointment with Adventure anthology series.
  10. In February 1954 he appeared for screen test with James Dean for film East of Eden, but lost out to Richard Davalos. Later in his career he was cast in two films ‘The Left Handed Gun’ as Billy the kid and as Rocky Graziano in ‘Somebody Up There Likes Me,’ as a last minute replacement after Dean’s death in automobile accident.
  11. He made his debut in Hollywood in the film ‘The Silver Chalice,’ in 1954 it was a box office failure. In 1958 he starred in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ opposite Elizabeth Taylor. The film was a box office hit and he was nominated for his first Academy Award.
  12. He won Best Actor for his role in ‘The Long, Hot Summer’ in the 1958 Cannes Film Festival. His co-star in the film was Joanne Woodward with whom he channeled his off-screen chemistry into their character and worked beautifully. He married her after the film in Las Vegas.
  13. The 1960s will bring Newman the super star status as he became one of the most popular actors of the decade. In 1961 he was cast in ‘The Hustler’ as Eddie Felson a small-time pool hustler, when in actual he had never held a pool cue before he landed the role. He used to go in disguise to girls high school in New York to practice poll for many hours.
  14. His portrayal of Hud Bannonin the 1963 movie ‘Hud’ is characterized as villain, but young moviegoers had posters of Hud and viewed him as their hero. He worked on a Texas cattle ranch for several weeks acquiring genuine calluses and a cowboy’s lope.
  15. He teamed with Robert Redford in the 1969 movie ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ directed by George Roy. The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being culturally, historically or aesthetically significant. The American film ranked it as 49th greatest American film on the AFI’s 100 years of movies.
  16. He directed 1968 film ‘Rachel’ in which both his daughters Nell Potts and Claire Newman acted. Nell Potts plays the Rachel as a young girl and Claire as the baby on the beach. She was two years old and her face was not shown as she was crying.
  17. He is a life long supporter of Democrat and supported its nominee Hubert Humphrey in 1968 general election and appeared in pre-election night telethon for him.
  18. In 1969 while filming ‘Winning,’ he found out his passion for auto racing. In 1971 he agreed to star in and to host his first television special ‘Once Upon a Wheel’ on the history of auto racing.
  19. The film ‘Sometimes a Great Notion’ in 1970 in which he starred and directed was awarded honorary Oscars along with Henry Fonda. This film was the first movie ever shown on HBO, when the service premiered in 1972.
  20. He was concerned about global warming and supported nuclear energy development as a solution. He attended the first Erath Day event in Manhattan on April 22, 1970.
  21. His only son Scott Newman died on November 19, 1978 due to fatal dose of valium with alcohol and other drugs. Newman said it was the saddest day of his life.
  22. He is one of the founders of the ‘Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy.’ Founded in 1999 by Newman and few leading CEOs, committed to raising the level of and quality of global corporate philanthropy.
  23. In June 1999 the Catholic Relief Services were one of his beneficiaries. He donated $ 250,000 to aid refugees in Kosovo.
  24. Newman retired from acting in May 2007 stating his loss of memory and confidence helped him in his decision. He briefly came out of retirement to record a narration for the 2007 documentary Dale, on the life of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt.
  25. In 1982 he and the writer A.E Hotchner founded ‘Newman’s Own’ a chain of food products. As per his policy all proceeds after taxes will be donated to charity. His company Newman’s Own sponsors the ‘PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award ‘designed to recognize those who protect the First Amendment as it applies to the freedom of expression and to the written word.
  26. He co-founded in 1988 ‘Hole in the Wall Gang Camp,’ a residential summer camp for seriously ill children located in Ashford, Connecticut. It has now expanded to several countries and 13,000 children are benefitted every year.
  27. Newman and his wife were the honorary chair of Kenyon College in their fund raising campaign from 1998-2001. On June 01, 2007 they donated $ 10 million to the college. Since 1970 an event called ‘Newman Day’ has been celebrated at Kenyon College, Bates College, Princeton University. In 2004 he requested the Princeton University to disassociate his name from it.
  28. He was named the ‘Most Generous Celebrity of 2008’ by Givingback.org. He donated $ 20,857,000 for the year 2008 to the Newman’s Own foundation.
  29. In 1972 he participated in the professional event at ‘Thompson International Speedway,’ and later he became a frequent competitor in the ‘Sports Car Club of America’ event for rest of the decade. He won four national championships.
  30. Newman was diagnosed with lung cancer in June 2008 and was under treatment for it. On September 26, 2008 at the age of 83, he died surrounded by family and friends. He was cremated near his home in Westport.

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