January 26, 1925 - September 26, 2008

I just deleted everything I wrote about Paul Newman.  It was the dumb, silly conjecture of a saddened fan and admirer of Newman's work, and in retrospect, I'm ashamed I ever wrote it.

I can only say at this point that I admired Newman above his contemporaries, even (and especially) Marlon Brando, whose hubris and egomania clouded his abilities as an actor (SEE: Apocalypse Now).  And though Robert Redford is up there on my list of favorites, no one did it quite like Paul Newman.  He was and is irreplaceable as an actor and film star.  One needs only see four films to reaffirm this notion, and yes, they are the big ones—the films everyone knows or should if they don't: Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Hustler, and The Sting.  The lexicon is larger, but if you want to hit the cornerstones, go for these.

So Paul Newman has left us now for the Happy Hunting Grounds.  Decent until the end, he donated his entire estate ($120 million) to charity during his final ailing months and then passed on.  The final act or some other cliche, but at least we are left with Fast Eddie Felson and Butch Cassidy and all the others.  They're still around to hold us over.

I don't care if it rains or freezes
As long as I've got my plastic Jesus
Sittin' on the dashboard of my car

Comes in colors pink and pleasant
It glows in the dark 'cause it's iridescent
Take it with you when you travel far

So get yourself a sweet Madonna
Dressed in rhinestones, sittin' on a
Pedestal of abalone shells

Drivin' ninety, I ain't scary
'Cause I got the Virgin Mary
Assuring me that I won't go to Hell