Paul Newman passed away last night at the age of 83. According to Yahoo!, “Newman died Friday after a long battle with cancer at his farmhouse near Westport, publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was surrounded by his family and close friends.”

Paul Newman 1925 - 2008

I fell in love with Paul Newman when I was about 10 or 11 and my family checked out a VHS of the movie Exodus from our local library. (As a side note, we were very lucky because the branch by our house was the A/V library so all they had was a great selection of videos & music and a small assortment of books, which were mostly art related – whoohoo! Literary needs were, of course, taken care of at the Decatur branch which was just a little bit further away in the opposite direction). The movie is about the founding of the state of Israel and Newman plays Ari Ben Canaan, Israeli freedom fighter. I later read the book that the movie was based on, which also made me fall in love with Leon Uris’ writing. He has a great ability to weave fiction, history, character development, the past and the present together into one story. But I digress…

Reasons I love Paul Newman:

* Well, I guess the love originated with the fact that he’s really good looking. Even as an older gentleman he was very attractive. His eyes, his smile…need I say more.

Paul Newman 1925 - 2008

* Secondly, I love that he was married to the same woman, actress Joanne Woodward, for 50 years. You always hear comments that their marriage was so amazing for Hollywood, but really that’s quite an accomplishment even if you live in Small Town, USA.

* He created all-natural foods, thereby encouraging healthy living. On the Newman’s Own website it says, “Newman’s Own®, Inc., founded on a lark by Paul Newman and his buddy A.E. Hotchner in 1982, is now (to our own surprise!), a leading (and growing) premium food company that offers more than 150 varieties of delicious all-natural food and beverage products.”

* He made something happen on a lark … I love that take on life! Everything I’ve ever read about him was also full of humor. I can’t explain to you how important humor is to me. I think being able to incorporate it into every day life for yourself and those around you is a very admirable trait. Laughing is healthy.

* Finally, he was a generous and charitable humanitarian. Also on the Newman’s Own site, it states, “Based in Westport, CT, the charitable mission of Newman’s Own is expressed in its Company motto: ‘Shameless exploitation in pursuit of the Common Good.’ Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own Foundation donate all profits and royalties after taxes for educational and charitable purposes. Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own Foundation have given more than $250 million to thousands of charities worldwide.” I believe that celebrities, generally speaking, work hard and I don’t mind if they enjoy some extravagances once they’ve made a ton of money, but I cannot wrap my brain around the decadent lifestyles that many young Hollywood-ers live these days. Fame is an opportunity to do great good in the world.

Thank you Mr. Newman for working so hard and being so generous.