Paul Newman is one of four actors to have been nominated for an Academy Award in five different decades.
Paul Newman is one of four actors to have been nominated for an Academy Award in five different decades.

Famous birthday's this week: Paul Newman

26/01/1925 - 26/09/2008 (Died aged 83).

"Every time I get a script it's a matter of trying to know what I could do with it. I see colours, imagery. It has to have a smell. It's like falling in love. You can't give a reason why”.

1925: Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, voice actor, film director, producer, race car driver, IndyCar owner, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist. He was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA, the second son of Theresa Garth and Arthur Sigmund Newman, who ran a sporting goods store.

1932: Newman showed an early interest in the theatre; his first role was at the age of seven, playing the court jester in a school production of Robin Hood.

1935: At age 10, Newman performed at the Cleveland Play House in a production of Saint George and the Dragon, and was a notable actor and alumnus of their Curtain Pullers children's theatre program.

1943: Graduating from Shaker Heights High School, he briefly attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he was initiated into the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.

1944: Newman attended boot camp with training as a radioman and rear gunner. Later qualifying in torpedo bombers, Aviation Radioman Third Class Newman was sent to Barbers Point, Hawaii. He was subsequently assigned to Pacific-based replacement torpedo squadrons VT-98, VT-99, and VT-100, responsible primarily for training replacement combat pilots and air crewmen, with special emphasis on carrier landings. He later flew as a turret gunner in an Avenger torpedo bomber. As a radioman-gunner, his unit was assigned to the USS Bunker Hill along with other replacements shortly before the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. The pilot of his aircraft had an ear infection which kept their plane grounded. The rest of their squadron flew to the Bunker Hill. Days later, a kamikaze attack on the vessel killed a number of service members, including the other members of his unit.

1949: After the war, Newman completed his Bachelor of Arts in drama and economics at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Shortly after earning his degree, he joined several summer stock companies, most notably the Belfry Players in Wisconsin and the Woodstock Players in Illinois. He toured with them for three months and developed his talents as a part of Woodstock Players. He later attended the Yale School of Drama for one year, before moving to New York City to study under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.

1951: Newman arrived in New York City with his first wife, Jackie Witte, taking up residence in the St George section of Staten Island.

1953: He made his Broadway theatre debut in the original production of William Inge's Picnic with Kim Stanley.

Paul Newman had striking blue eyes.
Paul Newman had striking blue eyes.

1954: Newman's first film for Hollywood was The Silver Chalice. The film was a box office failure and the actor would later acknowledge his disdain for it. In February of this year, Newman appeared in a screen test with James Dean, directed by Gjon Mili, for East of Eden (1955). Newman was tested for the role of Aron Trask, Dean for the role of Aron's fraternal twin brother Cal. Dean won his part, but Newman lost out to Richard Davalos. That same year, he co-starred with Eva Marie Saint and Frank Sinatra in a live and colour television broadcast of Our Town, a musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder's stage play. Newman was a last-minute replacement for James Dean.

1955: He appeared in the original Broadway production of The Desperate Hours.

1956: Newman garnered much attention and acclaim for the role of Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me.

1958: He starred in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, opposite Elizabeth Taylor. The film was a box office smash and Newman garnered his first Academy Award nomination. Also this year, Newman starred in The Long, Hot Summer with Joanne Woodward, with whom he reconnected on the set in 1957 (they had first met in 1953). He won Best Actor at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival for this film. After filming The Long, Hot Summer during this year, he divorced his first wife and married co-star Joanne Woodward. They remained together until his death in 2008. He had a total of six children, three with his first wife and three with his second.

Publicity portrait of the movie The Long, Hot Summer, depicting Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in 1958.
Publicity portrait of the movie The Long, Hot Summer, depicting Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in 1958.

1963: Newman was concerned about global warming and supported nuclear energy development as a solution. He attended a March in Washington on August 28 and was also present at the first Earth Day event in Manhattan on April 22, 1970.

1982: With writer A. E. Hotchner, Newman founded Newman's Own, a line of food products. 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, after taxes, would be donated to charity. As of January 2017, these donations have totalled over US$485 million.

1983: Newman became a Major Donor for The Mirror Theater Ltd, alongside Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino, matching a grant from Laurence Rockefeller. Newman was inspired to invest by his connection with Lee Strasberg, as Lee's then daughter-in-law Sabra Jones was the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of The Mirror. Paul Newman remained a friend of the company until his death and discussed at numerous times possible productions in which he could star with his wife, Joanne Woodward.

1988: Newman founded the SeriousFun Children's Network, a global family of summer camps and programs for children with serious illness which has served 290,076 children since its inception.

1992: He received the Kennedy Center Honors along with his wife, Joanne Woodward.

2002: His last movie appearance was as a conflicted mob boss in the 2002 film Road to Perdition opposite Tom Hanks, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

2003: Newman appeared in a Broadway revival of Wilder's Our Town, receiving his first Tony Award nomination for his performance. PBS and the cable network Showtime aired a taping of the production, and Newman was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie.

2006: In keeping with his strong interest in car racing, he provided the voice of Doc Hudson, a retired anthropomorphic race car, in Disney/Pixar's Cars, this was his final role for a major feature film. While not in the sequel Cars 2 (2011), his voice was later used in the third film, Cars 3 (2017), for which he received billing, almost nine years after his death.

2007: Newman retired from acting in May of this year. He came out of retirement to record narration for the documentary Dale, about the life of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, and for the 2008 documentary The Meerkats. On June 1, Kenyon College announced that Newman had donated $10 million to the school to establish a scholarship fund as part of the college's current $230 million fund-raising campaign. Newman and Woodward were honorary co-chairs of a previous campaign.

2008: Newman was scheduled to make his professional stage directing debut with the Westport Country Playhouse's 2008 production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, but he stepped down on May 23, citing his health concerns. Newman died of lung cancer on the morning of September 26 in the presence of his family.

2009: Newman was posthumously inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame at the national convention in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 21.

2015: The US Postal Service issued a 'forever stamp' honouring Newman, which went on sale September 18.

2017: On October 26, Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona was auctioned in New York by Phillips Auctioneers for $17.75 million, making it the most expensive wristwatch ever sold.


He won and was nominated for numerous awards, winning an Academy Award for his performance in the 1986 film The Color of Money a BAFTA Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, an Emmy Award, and many others. Newman's other roles include the title characters in The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963), Harper (1966) and Cool Hand Luke (1967), as well as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), The Sting (1973), and The Verdict (1982). He also voiced Doc Hudson in the first installment of Disney-Pixar's Cars, and received a posthumous credit for his voice recordings in Cars 3 (2017). In addition to the awards Newman won for specific roles, he received an honorary Academy Award in 1986 for his "many and memorable and compelling screen performances" and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his charity work in 1994.


From the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, he drove for the Bob Sharp Racing team, racing mainly Datsuns (later rebranded as Nissans) in the Trans-Am Series. He became closely associated with the brand during the 1980s, even appearing in commercials for them in Japan and having a special edition of the Nissan Skyline named after him. At the age of 70 years and eight days, Newman became the oldest driver to date to be part of a winning team in a major sanctioned race, winning in his class at the 1995 24 Hours of Daytona. Newman's racing life was chronicled In the documentary Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman.


Despite being colourblind, Newman won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing, and his race teams won several championships in open-wheel IndyCar racing. Also, he was a co-founder of Safe Water Network, a non-for-profit that develops sustainable drinking water solutions for those in need.

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