Paul Newman has passed away

Posted by Iannucci | 9/27/2008 | 11 comments »
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It seems as if we've been waiting all summer, but the news finally arrived.

WESTPORT, Conn. - Paul Newman, the Academy-Award winning superstar who personified cool as the anti-hero of such films as "Hud," "Cool Hand Luke" and "The Color of Money" — and as an activist, race car driver and popcorn impresario — has died. He was 83.

Newman died Friday after a long battle with cancer at his farmhouse near Westport, publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was surrounded by his family and close friends.

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Here are the statements from Newman/Haas/Lanigan.

“On behalf of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, my wife Bernadette and myself, I want to express our most sincere condolences to Joanne and the entire Newman family on the loss of a great human being. Paul and I have been partners for 26 years and I have come to know his passion, humor and above all, his generosity. Not just economic generosity, but generosity of spirit. His support of the team’s drivers, crew and the racing industry is legendary. His pure joy at winning a pole position or winning a race exemplified the spirit he brought to his life and to all those that knew him. We will truly miss him.”

- Carl A. Haas, co-owner of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing

"We truly lost a great man. Most of us knew him as Butch or Fast Eddie from the theater or from our living rooms at home. He was much more than a great actor. His legacy will be his five children, his wife, Joanne and all the sick children around the world who desperately needed his help. Paul was a man of character who cared about the world and the people who lived in it. Putting a smile on a young person’s face and helping people in need was a virtue he excelled at. Little did anyone realize a child born of such humble beginnings could affect our lives in so many positive ways. We should all learn to live by his example. We will miss him dearly but will never forget him."

- Michael Lanigan, co-owner of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing


A month ago our good buddy yaumb penned a salute to the man in somber anticipation of this moment. It respectfully reads:

From what I understand from friends in the know, Paul Newman won’t survive past September.

That makes me sad on so many levels. For my kids, he’s the voice of Doc Hudson from Cars. For my parents, he’s one of the greatest actors of the 20th century. For me, though, he was always the racer who let acting get in the way of superstardom on the track.

That’s not to say he wasn’t a star race driver. He was racing in the 24 Hours of Daytona until very recently, and for a septuaginarian that really isn’t an easy thing to do. But he had a passion for racing and a competitive streak a mile wide. Had Newman decided to make racing his sole career, he could have made Dale Earnhardt look like a minor star in the motorsports firmament.

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11 comments

  1. redd // September 27, 2008 8:44 AM  

    what a life. good job, paul newman.

  2. Anonymous // September 27, 2008 8:55 AM  

    Thank you Paul, for being a giver & not a taker. Well done.

  3. Anonymous // September 27, 2008 10:10 AM  

    Sad news! but not unexpected. Just heard the news on the F1 broadcast. He wasn't liked by many included in IRL and Tony George, but we shouldn't hold that against him. He did many great things for the sport. We should celebrate his life and what he did for auto racing in general. RIP Paul

  4. KP // September 27, 2008 1:25 PM  

    "He wasn't liked by many included in IRL and Tony George, but we shouldn't hold that against him."

    Wait, what? I'm stunned by the ignorance and poor taste of that statement. Please, a little more respect for a truly amazing man. Godspeed Mr. Newman.

  5. cestrada // September 27, 2008 2:18 PM  

    Rest in peace, Paul. Thank you for everything.

  6. Bash // September 27, 2008 3:18 PM  

    A beautiful light has been dimmed. We'll all have to shine a little brighter to fill that void - let's hope we do. RIP, Mr. Newman.

  7. mmack // September 28, 2008 9:17 AM  

    Wow, time flies.

    I first remember hearing about Paul Newman racing Datsuns for Bob Sharp in the early 1980's in IMSA. It seems like yesterday (except it was 25 years ago) that I remember a Car and Driver article about Paul Newman, Mario Andretti, and some guy named Carl Haas starting an Indy Car team and going racing with a very recalcitrant Lola chassis.

    Paul to me was like Roger Penske: you just always expected them to be there, forever. I know the CART\IRL split tore him up inside, and he was adamantly against reconciling with Tony George. But in the end, I think he knew the stand off had to end. At least he got one more May at Indianapolis before he left us.

    He was a great actor, and from what I saw, a stand-up businessman when it came to running a race team. Godspeed sir.

    He was smiling... That's right. You know, that, that Luke smile of his. He had it on his face right to the very end. Hell, if they didn't know it 'fore, they could tell right then that they weren't a-gonna beat him. That old Luke smile. Oh, Luke. He was some boy.

  8. Anonymous // September 28, 2008 11:37 AM  

    "He wasn't liked by many included in IRL and Tony George, but we shouldn't hold that against him."

    Wait, what? I'm stunned by the ignorance and poor taste of that statement. Please, a little more respect for a truly amazing man. Godspeed Mr. Newman.

    I wasn't trying to start an argument, however when someone calls me ignorant who is obviously extremely ignorant themselves, I had to respond.

    Possibly my statement was mis construed. Just to explain what I was referring to is that Mr. Newman was one of the IRL's most harsh critics. He said he wouldn't come back to Indy until hell froze over and Tony George was in a pine box. Just to name a few. I'm sure that struck a nerve with some people.

    As for my "lack of respect". Obviously you didn't read my whole statement which was meant for ignorant individuals such as yourself. "That we should not hold that against him. We should celebrate is life and what he did for auto racing in general. RIP Paul." So where exactly is the lack of respect and poor taste?

  9. Bash // September 28, 2008 11:52 AM  

    Out of respect to the man's contribution to our sport and society, can we please keep this thread focused on memories of Newman and condolences to family, friends and colleagues? It's what the man deserves. Thanks for considering my suggestion.

  10. yaumb // September 28, 2008 8:14 PM  

    Paul wouldn't have shrunk from admitting his vitriol against Tony George and the IRL. It wasn't in his nature to hide behind excuses. What Mr. Anonymous doesn't add to his statement is that Paul changed his views later and became a force behind the eventual unification of the two series. THAT is why people respect him - he was a man of principle who defended his beliefs with passion and energy, but also a man of common sense and wisdom who didn't let his passion and energy warp his judgment or prevent him from making a good choice.

    People who matter realize this. That's all that counts.

  11. movie fan // October 16, 2008 11:36 PM  

    it's hard not to admire Paul Newman for putting his money to work in such productive ways, such as his Newman's Own line--high quality stuff and the proceeds go to good causes... very smart.