Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director. He won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actor, three Golden Globe Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Emmy Award.
Newman was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and was the son of Theresa and Arthur Samuel Newman. Newman’s father was Jewish, the son of immigrants from Poland and Hungary; Newman’s mother, who practiced Christian Science, was born to a Slovak Roman Catholic family in the former Austria–Hungary.
Newman showed an early interest in the theatre, which his mother encouraged. At the age of seven, he made his acting debut, playing the court jester in a school production of Robin Hood.
He then served in the U.S. Navy in World War II in the Pacific theatre. Newman enrolled in the Navy V-12 program at Ohio University, hoping to be accepted for pilot training, but was dropped when it was discovered he was colour blind. He was sent instead to boot camp and then received further training as a radioman and gunner.
After the war, he completed his English degree at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, graduating in 1949. Newman later studied drama at Yale University, graduating in 1954, and later studied under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York City.
Newman arrived in New York City in 1951 with his first wife, Jackie Witte. He made his Broadway debut in the original production of Picnic with Kim Stanley in 1953 and appeared in other original Broadway productions like The Desperate Hours and Sweet Bird of Youth with Geraldine Page.
His film debut in Hollywood was The Silver Chalice, which was a box office failure. In 1956, Newman achieved acclaim with Somebody Up There Likes Me as boxer Rocky Graziano. By 1958, he was one of the hottest new stars in Hollywood. Later that year, he starred in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, opposite Elizabeth Taylor. The film was a box office smash, and Newman grabbed his first Academy Award nomination. In the same year Newman starred in The Long, Hot Summer with Joanne Woodward, which after divorcing Witte would marry. They remained married for fifty years with making ten films together, until his death in 2008.
Newman was one of the few actors who successfully made the transition from 1950s cinema to that of the 1960s and 1970s. During this he starred in The Hustler, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Sting.
Written by Ryan Cook
Film by Andrew Walsh