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Paul Newman (1925 - 2008)

Paul-newman Paul Newman, one of the greatest American actors of all time, died yesterday at the age of 83. Newman was not only an absolute legend as an actor, but a great humanitarian and philanthropist as well (his Newman's Own food label, for example, donated all profits and royalties to charity, about $250 million so far). Newman always seemed like a truly nice guy who was unspoiled by his Hollywood-superstar status. I can't help but feel a sense of loss; certainly America has lost an icon today, but an icon and a symbol that shall long be remembered. I've seen most of Newman's films, but to me there are two that stick out: The Verdict (1982) and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Here are a couple of clips below.

This is the case: a lesson in focus
In The Verdict Newman plays a struggling, down-on-his-luck lawyer who, facing impossible odds, repeats to himself the mantra "This is the case, there is no other case" as a way of getting himself to focus on the urgency of now — not his past successes and not his recent and numerous failures — as he fights to persevere and prepare his case. Even 25 years ago when I first saw the film this line stuck with me. Even if you are not a trial lawyer, there is an important lesson here for professionals of all kinds, and it is simply this: There is no future, there is no past — there is only this moment, there is only this case (or project or mission, etc.). The scene below is not about this mantra, but it's a great bit of acting and a reminder that pacing and the silent pause (eye contact, etc.) are a powerful part of your message no matter what kind of presentation or speech you are making. Sometimes silence is far more powerful than verbosity. (Note: turn up the volume on your computer to hear this scene.)

A dynamic duo
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a film I first saw as a nine-year-old (with my mother). This clip below features one of the most memorable scenes with a nice piece of subtle humor. Newman and Redford had great chemistry in this film (in 2002 I got to say hello to Robert Redford as we shared the elevator in building one of 1 Infinite Loop up to the 4th floor; Redford was on his way to meet with Steve Jobs).



"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1958) is one of the best titles on a book/play/movie ever. I wish I could come up with stuff like that. It sounds equally good on Swedish: "Katt på hett plåttak".

Charles Martineau

Slap Shot was my favorite movie from Newman!

Eduardo Berrios

Siempre leo su blog, porque las presentaciones son un tema importante en mi desarrollo profesional, sin embargo y motivado por su articulo de hoy, le quería comentar que desde Chile, las películas de Paul Newman siempre han sido seguidas. Quizás, en lo personal, me toca más por el recuerdo que me genera de mi padre.

Gracias por la información y felicitaciones por su blog.

Desde Chile, Eduardo Berríos.


It's a great loss indeed.

The summation-scene is incredible. The other one is fun. You found a good balance for a blog-tribute.

P.S.: Next time you meet Robert Redford say hello to him from me, too, ok?

Andrew Careaga

I love The Verdict and glad to see it referenced here. It was one of Newman's greatest roles, but underappreciated.

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yes..Paul Newman, one of the greatest American actors of all time.

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