Friday, 25 July 2008

Paul Newman

At last Sunday's Indy Car race it was reported that Paul Newman was very poorly. It seems that it is only a matter of time before he succumbs to the lung cancer which he has had for over eighteen months. He will be mourned by both the acting and motor racing worlds.

Paul Leonard Newman (born January 26, 1925) is an American actor and a film director. He has won numerous awards, including an Academy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, and an Emmy award. He is also the founder of Newman's Own, a food company from which Newman donates all profits and royalties to charity. As of May 2007, these donations have exceeded US$220 million.

Newman was one of the few actors who successfully made the transition from 1950s cinema to that of the 1960s and 1970s. His rebellious persona translated well to a subsequent generation. Newman starred in Exodus (1960), The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963), Harper (1966), Hombre (1967), Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Towering Inferno (1974), Slap Shot (1977) and The Verdict (1982). He teamed with fellow actor Robert Redford and director George Roy Hill for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973).

His last screen appearance was as a conflicted mob boss in the 2002 film Road to Perdition opposite Tom Hanks, although he continued to provide voice work for films. In keeping with his strong interest in car racing, he provided the voice of Doc Hudson, a retired race car in Disney/Pixar's Cars. He served as narrator for the 2007 film Dale, about the life of the legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt.

Newman is an avid auto racing enthusiast, and first became interested in motorsports ("the first thing that I ever found I had any grace in") while training for and filming Winning, a 1969 film. Newman's first professional event was in 1972, in Thompson, Connecticut. He ran the 24 hours of Le Mans once in 1979 and finished second in a Porsche 935 of Dick Barbour.

From the mid-'70s to the early '90s, he drove for the Bob Sharp Racing team, racing mainly Nissans. He became heavily associated with the brand during the '80s, even appearing in commercials for them. At the age of 70, he became the oldest driver to be part of a winning team in a major sanctioned race, the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1995. Newman co-founded Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing with Carl Haas, an IndyCar team, in 1983. He is also a partner in the Atlantic Championship team Newman Wachs Racing.

Past and Present Newman-Haas Drivers

Justin Wilson (2008-Present)
Graham Rahal (2007-Present)
Sébastien Bourdais (2003-2007)
Bruno Junqueira (2003-2006)
Oriol Servia (2005; sub for Junqueria)
Cristiano da Matta (2001-2002)
Christian Fittipaldi (1996-2002)
Michael Andretti (1989-1992, 1995-2000)
Roberto Moreno (1997-1999; sub for Fittipaldi)
Paul Tracy (1995)

Nigel Mansell (1993-1994)
Mario Andretti (1983-1994)
Teo Fabi (1992; sub for Ma. Andretti)
Alan Jones (1985; sub for Ma. Andretti)

Newman was scheduled to make his professional directorial stage debut with the Westport Country Playhouse's 2008 production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, but he stepped down on May 23, 2008, citing health issues. In June 2008 it was widely reported that Newman, a former chain smoker, had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was receiving treatment at Sloan-Kettering hospital in New York City. Photographs taken of Newman in May and June showed him looking gaunt and he is now, by all accounts, very poorly.

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