Paul Newman: A Life

Front Cover
Crown/Archetype, May 5, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 496 pages
2 Reviews
Paul Newman, the Oscar-winning actor with the legendary blue eyes, achieved superstar status by playing charismatic renegades, broken heroes, and winsome antiheroes in such revered films as The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Verdict, The Color of Money, and Nobody’s Fool. But Newman was also an oddity in Hollywood: the rare box-office titan who cared about the craft of acting, the sexy leading man known for the staying power of his marriage, and the humble celebrity who made philanthropy his calling card long before it was cool.

The son of a successful entrepreneur, Newman grew up in a prosperous Cleveland suburb. Despite fears that he would fail to live up to his father’s expectations, Newman bypassed the family sporting goods business to pursue an acting career. After struggling as a theater and television actor, Newman saw his star rise in a tragic twist of fate, landing the role of boxer Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me when James Dean was killed in a car accident. Though he would joke about instances of “Newman’s luck” throughout his career, he refused to coast on his stunning boyish looks and impish charm. Part of the original Actors Studio generation, Newman demanded a high level of rigor and clarity from every project. The artistic battles that nearly derailed his early movie career would pay off handsomely at the box office and earn him critical acclaim.

He applied that tenacity to every endeavor both on and off the set. The outspoken Newman used his celebrity to call attention to political causes dear to his heart, including civil rights and nuclear proliferation. Taking up auto racing in midlife, Newman became the oldest driver to ever win a major professional auto race. A food enthusiast who would dress his own salads in restaurants, he launched the Newman’s Own brand dedicated to fresh ingredients, a nonprofit juggernaut that has generated more than $250 million for charity.

In Paul Newman: A Life, film critic and pop culture historian Shawn Levy gives readers the ultimate behind-the-scenes examination of the actor’s life, from his merry pranks on the set to his lasting romance with Joanne Woodward to the devastating impact of his son’s death from a drug overdose. This definitive biography is a fascinating portrait of an extraordinarily gifted man who gave back as much as he got out of life and just happened to be one of the most celebrated movie stars of the twentieth century.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

Very Solid

User Review  - kbigley - Borders

Not as in depth as you want, but not far off. It gives a thorough description of his work, and how it affected his life. His struggle to deal with the burden of being Paul Newman is a subject of great ... Read full review

Paul Newman: a life

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Veteran film critic Levy (Rat Pack Confidential; The Last Playboy: The High Life of Porfirio Rubirosa) presents the most illuminating biography of Paul Newman to date. Levy covers Newman's 50-year ... Read full review

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
15
Section 3
27
Section 4
38
Section 5
53
Section 6
69
Section 7
80
Section 8
90
Section 18
261
Section 19
278
Section 20
297
Section 21
317
Section 22
334
Section 23
354
Section 24
375
Section 25
383

Section 9
102
Section 10
117
Section 11
133
Section 12
149
Section 13
161
Section 14
181
Section 15
200
Section 16
219
Section 17
239
Section 26
401
Section 27
417
Section 28
433
Section 29
447
Section 30
450
Section 31
464
Section 32
470
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

SHAWN LEVY is the author of six previous books, including the New York Timesbestsellers Rat Pack Confidential and Paul Newman: A Life.  He served as film critic of The Oregonian from 1997 to 2012 and is a former senior editor ofAmerican Film and a former associate editor of Box Office. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco ChronicleThe GuardianThe Independent, Film Comment, Movieline, and Sight and Sound, among many other publications. He lives in Portland, Oregon.


From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information