Paul Leonard Newman – (1925-2008)
“The George Westmore Research Library & Museum mourns the passing of our friend and donor. Our deepest condolences to Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward, Arthur Newman Jr. and the Newman Family. Paul was a man of our times, he touched the world with his kindness, generosity and love. We are all better because of his inspiration and leadership.” (quote – D.D.W., GWRL&M)
With writer A.E. Hotchner, Newman founded Newman’s Own, a line of food products, in 1982. The brand started with salad dressing, and has expanded to include pasta sauce, lemonade, popcorn, salsa, and wine, among other things. Newman established a policy that all proceeds from the sale of Newman’s Own products, after taxes, would be donated to charity. As of early 2006, the franchise has resulted in excess of $200 million in donations. He co-wrote a memoir about the subject with Hotchner, Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good. Among other awards, Newman’s Own co-sponsors the PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award, a $25,000 reward designed to recognize those who protect the First Amendment as it applies to the written word.
One beneficiary of his philanthropy is the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a residential summer camp for seriously ill children, which is located in Ashford, Connecticut. Newman co-founded the camp in 1988; it was named after the gang in his film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Newman’s college fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, adopted “Hole in the Wall” as their “national philanthropy” in 1995. One camp has expanded to become several Hole in the Wall Camps in the U.S., Ireland, France and Israel. The camp serves 13,000 children every year, free of charge.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
An actor, film director, entrepreneur, race car driver, racing team owner and humanitarian, Newman won numerous awards, including three Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, and an Emmy Award. He was also the founder of Newman’s Own, a Westport-based food company which has donated more than $250 million in profits and royalties to charity.
Paul Leonard Newman was born Jan. 26, 1925, in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, son of Arthur S. (a sporting goods store owner) and Theresa (maiden name, Fetzer) Newman.
He married actress Jacqueline Witte in December 1949, and they were divorced in 1957. He married Joanne Woodward, also an actress, on Jan. 29, 1958.
His children by his first marriage were Scott (deceased), Susan, and Stephanie. His children from his second marriage were Elinor “Nell” Theresa, Melissa “Lissy” Steward, and Claire “Clea” Olivia.
In a statement, the Newman daughters said:
“Paul Newman played many unforgettable roles. But the ones for which he was proudest never had top billing on the marquee.
“Devoted husband. Loving father. Adoring grandfather. Dedicated philanthropist.
“Our father was a rare symbol of selfless humility, the last to acknowledge what he was doing was special. Intensely private, he quietly succeeded beyond measure in impacting the lives of so many with his generosity.
“Always and to the end, Dad was incredibly grateful for his good fortune. In his own words: ‘It’s been a privilege to be here.’
“He will be profoundly missed by those whose lives he touched, but he leaves us with extraordinary inspiration to draw upon.
“During this difficult time, we ask for privacy for our family.”
In a 1997 book about Newman, biographer Lawrence J. Quirk quoted the actor as saying:
“I’d like to be remembered as a guy who tried – tried to be part of his times, tried to help people communicate with one another, tried to find some decency in his own life, tried to extend himself as a human being. Someone who isn’t complacent, who doesn’t cop out.”
When Barbara Walters once asked him what he wanted his epitaph to be, he replied, “That I was part of our times.”