Monday, September 29, 2008

One of the Greatest Is Gone

Paul Newman, who died last Friday at the age of 83, was one of the greatest actors of this or any generation.

I don't know how highly he would rank on a popularity list of movie stars with our Class of 1973. But given his rugged good looks, the he-man roles he often played, and his gorgeous blue eyes, I would think he would be close to the top of the list (especially with the women in our group).

Paul Newman was a movie star long before we came to Vanderbilt with his hit films in 1950s and '60s including THE LONG HOT SUMMER, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, EXODUS, THE HUSTLER, HUD and COOL HAND LUKE.

During our years at Vanderbilt (1969-1973), he continued his wonderful work on screen with a string of box office successes including BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID (1969), SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION (1971), THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JUDGE ROY BEAN (1972), and THE STING (1973), which won the Best Picture Oscar that year.

As for his own Oscars, he was nominated ten times, but won only once for Best Actor in THE COLOR OF MONEY in 1986. But he was recognized by the Academy on two other occasions, again in 1986 for his "many and memorable screen performances", and in 1994 with the Jean Hershott Humanitarian Award for his charity work.

Indeed Newman's line of food products, Newman's Own, raised millions of dollars for charity over the years and his second career as a race car driver and owner, also brought him great success and acclaim, including finishing second in 1979 in the 24 Hours At LeMans race.

Newman was also active in politics, so much so, that on the original and infamous enemies list of Presiden Richard Nixon, he was rated number 19.

Courtesy of YouTube, here's a brief appreciation of Paul Newman from the Biography Channel....

So who were your favorite movie stars while you were at Vanderbilt? What were your favorite movies during? And where did you go to see them? Downtown (The Tennessee, the Paramount, the Loews Crescent)? How about the Belle Meade Theatre or the Green Hills Theatre or the Belcourt Cinema nearby? What about the movies shown on campus at the Good Woman or The Different Drummer or in Neely Auditorium, sometimes complete with a little organ music for the silent films?

As always, please leave your thoughts below.

1 comment:

Steve said...

The worst movie I remember during our years together was "The Passenger" with Jack Nicholson at the Belcourt. And that took some doing, because some of the movies I saw during those four years really stunk.

I remember watching a whole lot of movies in Underwood, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid freshman year.

I also got to see a lot of the movie classics either on campus or just off campus like Citizen Kane that I had missed before.

Then there was Professor Douglas Weedman in Astronomy 140. Every Friday we had a film or a slide show connected to Astronomy. One week he didn't have anything ready, so he showed us home movies of his vacation last summer.

Steve Womack