- Birth name:
- Paul Leonard Newman
- Date of Birth:
- 26 September 1925 Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA
- 5' 9½" (1.77 m)
Paul Leonard Newman was born in January of 1925, the second son of Arthur and Theresa (nee' Fetsko) Newman in Cleveland, Ohio. The Newmans were a well-to-do family and Paul grew up in a nice home in Shaker Heights. Newman's father, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and Hungary, was the owner of a highly successful sporting goods store. Paul's mother, a practicing Christian Scientist of Slovakian decent, and his uncle Joe had an interest in creative arts and it rubbed off on him.By 1950, the 25 year old Newman had graduated high school, been kicked out of Ohio University for unruly behavior, served three years in the Navy during World War II as a radio operator, graduated from Ohio's Kenyon College, married his first wife, Jackie, and had his first child, Scott. 1950 was also the year that Paul's father died. When he became successful in later years, Newman said if he had any regrets it would be that his father wasn't around to see it. He brought Jackie back to Shaker Heights and he ran his father's sporting goods store for a short period. Then, knowing that wasn't the career path he wanted to take, he moved Jackie and Scott to New Haven, Connecticut where he would attend Yale University's School of Drama. While doing a play there, Paul was spotted by two agents who invited him to come to New York City to pursue a career as a professional actor.After moving to New York, Paul acted in guest spots for various television shows and in 1953 came a big break. He got the part as an understudy of the lead role in the successful Broadway play Picnic. Through this play is how he met actress Joanne Woodward, who was also an understudy in the play. While they got on very well and there was a strong attraction, Paul was married and his second child, Susan, was born that year. During this time Newman was also accepted into the much admired and popular New York Actor's Studio, although he wasn't technically auditioning.In 1954 a film Paul was very reluctant to do was released. It was called The Silver Chalice (1954). To this day, he his still embarrassed about the film and revels in making fun of it. He immediately wanted to return to the stage and performed in The Desperate Hours. In 1956, Newman got the chance to redeem himself in the film world by doing Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) and critics praised his performance. In 1957, with a handful of films to his credit, he was cast in The Long, Hot Summer (1958) co-starring none other than Joanne Woodward. During the shooting of this film, they realized they were meant to be together and by now, so did Paul's wife Jackie. After Jackie gave Paul a divorce, he and Joanne married in Las Vegas in January of 1958. They went on to have three daughters together and raised them in Westport, Connecticut. In 1959 Paul received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958). The 1960's would bring Paul Newman into superstar status as he became one of the most popular actors of the decade and garnered three more Best Actor Oscar nominations for The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963) and Cool Hand Luke (1967). In 1968 his debut directorial effort Rachel, Rachel (1968) was given good marks and although the film and Joanne Woodward were nominated for Oscars, Newman was not nominated for Best Director. He did, however, win a Golden Globe for his direction. 1969 would bring the popular screen duo Paul Newman and Robert Redford together for the first time when Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) was released. It was a box office smash. Throughout the 1970's, Newman would have hits and misses from such popular films as The Sting (1973) and The Towering Inferno (1974) to lesser known films as The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) to a now cult classic Slap Shot (1977). After the death of his only son, Scott, in 1978, Newman's personal life and film choices moved in a different direction. His acting work in the 1980's and on is what is often most praised by critics today. He became more at ease with himself and it was evident in The Verdict (1982) for which he received his 6th Best Actor Oscar nomination and in 1987 finally received his first Oscar for The Color of Money (1986). Friend and director of Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), Robert Wise accepted the award on Newman's behalf as he did not attend the ceremony. Films were not the only thing on his mind during this period. A passionate race car driver since the early 1970's, Newman would become co-owner of Newman-Haas racing in 1982 and also founded Newman's Own, a successful food company he built from the ground up in which all the proceeds go to charity. He would also start The Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, an organization for terminally ill children.He is as well known today for his philanthropic ways and highly successful business ventures as he his for his legendary actor status. Now in his 80s, Newman enjoys a near 50-year marriage to Joanne in Connecticut, their main residence since moving away from the bright lights of Hollywood in 1960, still attends races, is very much involved in his charitable organizations and in 2006 opened a restaurant called Dressing Room, which helps out the Westport Country Playhouse, a place the Newman's take great pride in. In 2007 he made some headlines when he said he was losing his invention and confidence in his acting abilities and that acting is "pretty much a closed book for me." Whether he's on the screen or not, Paul Newman remains synonymous with the anti-heroism of the 1960s and 1970s cinema and rebellious nature his characters so often embodied.