Paul Newman: biography of the iconic American actor nicknamed “Old Blue Eyes”

The cinema will never forget certain names and surnames carved into legend and myth. The resonance, the echo over time of an actor like Paul Newman , for example, cannot go unnoticed.

One of the most impressive actors ever from all points of view. The classic self-made star who helped raise the already high level of old-fashioned American cinema.


  • The beginnings of Paul Newman
  • Paul Newman from the 60s on the crest of the wave
  • Film Paul Newman
  • Paul Newman out of the cinema

The beginnings of Paul Newman

Paul Newman was born on January 26, 1925 in Shaker Heights, a remote Ohio town. From the 1940s, at a very young age, he officially became part of a theater company from which he took off later.

Precisely on this occasion he meets the one who will become his future wife, as well as actress and colleague on the set, Jackie E. Witte .

In 1949 the two married and from this marriage 3 children were born. One of them died in 1978 due to an overdose.

The 1950s are the years of Paul Newman’s preparation and sublimation. In New York there is the acting school ” Actor’s Studio “, the most important in America where someone like him cannot go unnoticed.

For this reason he immediately made his debut in a play on Broadway. From then on she decides that it is time to really take off and head towards the cinema itself.

The debut on the other type of set takes place in 1954, in a famous Hollywood film engraved in the memory of fans and critics, “The silver chalice”. And to think that initially the interpretation of him did not collect wide acclaim , so much so that the impact with the general public was not the best.

Only with another interpretation, the boxer Rocky Graziano in the film “Someone loves me up there” from 1956, that opinions change radically and thus he establishes himself at the center of the American film scene.

The star system welcomed him into its ranks and in a short time he became the new sex symbol of American cinema as opposed to another great star of the time, Marlon Brando .

In 1958 Paul Newman separates from his first wife and marries another woman, that Joanne Woodward, also an actress known on the set of the film “The long hot summer”. Instead, 3 daughters were born from this union.

Between the end of the 1950s and the mid-1970s he  was the protagonist of some of the greatest successes in the history of American cinema, such as  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof  (1958),  Exodus  (1960),  Lo spaccone  (1961),  Hud The Savage  (1963),  Intrigue in Stockholm  (1963),  The Torn Curtain  (1966),  Nick Cold Hand  (1967),  Butch Cassidy  (1969),  The Sting  (1973),  The Crystal Hell  (1974),  Quintet ( 1979).


Paul Newman from the 60s on the crest of the wave

Instead, he made his first experience as a director in 1961 through the film “Jennifer ‘s first time” where, moreover, his wife also plays. She was neither the first nor the last time, considering that there have been many other occasions in which the 2 have made a steady couple not only in life, but also in front of the camera.

From this moment he begins his climb in this new role for him up to that moment among various successful films such as “Challenge without fear”, “The effects of gamma rays on Matilda’s flowers”, “The glass zoo”.

After lighting up the Hollywood scene with films of international caliber screened as a protagonist between the 50s and the 70s, Paul Newman only received the Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1986 , in reference, also and above all, to the film “The color of money ”by Martin Scorsese, played alongside a very young Tom Cruise.

The following year, however, comes the Oscar as best leading actor for the same film mentioned above. The 90s are characterized by the humanitarian and charitable commitment of the American actor fully expressed by the food company he owns, Newman’s own. He was involved in organic production and donated the entire proceeds to charity. All this translates into the prestigious “Jean hersholt Humanitaria” award awarded to him in 1993.

The most majestic masterpieces of Paul Newman’s filmography, in general, can be considered films of a dated past such as “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” or “The Sting” with Robert Redford. 

But even in the 2000s , despite his advanced age, he stands out in representations such as “The words I didn’t tell you” alongside Kevin Costner and “He was my father” in 2003 with a certain Tom Hanks. 

Although, in these last cases, he was at the epilogue of his career, the presence and interpretation of an actor of thickness like him made all the difference in the world.

In his long and rich acting career Paul Newman has amassed a total of 3 Oscars, 7 Golden Globes and 1 Emmy Award . One of the leading exponents of the famous Hollywood sidewalk on which, among many others, his star shines.

Present in the ranks of great cinematographic personalities such as Ennio Morricone and Spike Lee, just to mention 2 random names, who first received the Oscar for Lifetime Achievement and only later that for a starring interpretation.

Film Paul Newman

Here is Paul Newman’s complete filmography, in chronological order:

  1. The Silver Chalice, by Victor Saville (1954)
  2. Somebody Up There Likes Me, directed by Robert Wise (1956)
  3. The Rack, by Arnold Laven (1956)
  4. When Love is Novel (The Helen Morgan Story), by Michael Curtiz (1957)
  5. Until They Sail, directed by Robert Wise (1957)
  6. The Long, Hot Summer, by Martin Ritt (1958)
  7. The Left Handed Gun, by Arthur Penn (1958)
  8. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, by Richard Brooks (1958)
  9. Missiles in the Garden (Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys!), By Leo McCarey (1958)
  10. The Young Philadelphians, directed by Vincent Sherman (1959)
  11. From the Terrace, by Mark Robson (1960)
  12. Exodus, by Otto Preminger (1960)
  13. Lo spaccone (The Hustler), by Robert Rossen (1961)
  14. Paris Blues, directed by Martin Ritt (1961)
  15. Sweet Bird of Youth, by Richard Brooks (1962)
  16. Hemingway’s Adventures of a Young Man, directed by Martin Ritt (1962)
  17. Hud the Wild (Hud), by Martin Ritt (1963)
  18. Il mio amore con Samantha (A New Kind of Love), directed by Melville Shavelson (1963)
  19. Intrigue a Stockholm (The Prize), by Mark Robson (1963)
  20. What a Way to Go !, by J. Lee Thompson (1964)
  21. The Outrage, by Martin Ritt (1964)
  22. Lady L, directed by Peter Ustinov (1965)
  23. Detective’s Story (Harper), regia di Jack Smight (1966)
  24. Torn Curtain, by Alfred Hitchcock (1966)
  25. Hombre, by Martin Ritt (1967)
  26. Cool Hand Luke, by Stuart Rosenberg (1967)
  27. War, Love and Escape (The Secret War of Harry Frigg), by Jack Smight (1968)
  28. Indianapolis Pitch of Hell (Winning), directed by James Goldstone (1969)
  29. Butch Cassidy (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), regia di George Roy Hill (1969)
  30. A Man Today (WUSA), by Stuart Rosenberg (1970)
  31. Sometimes a Great Notion, by Paul Newman (1971)
  32. Pocket Money, directed by Stuart Rosenberg (1972)
  33. The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, by John Huston (1972)
  34. Special Agent Mackintosh (The Mackintosh Man), by John Huston (1973)
  35. The Sting, directed by George Roy Hill (1973)
  36. The Towering Inferno, directed by John Guillermin and Irwin Allen (1974)
  37. Detective Harper: Water in the Throat (The Drowning Pool), by Stuart Rosenberg (1975)
  38. The Last Madness by Mel Brooks (Silent Movie), by Mel Brooks (1976)
  39. Buffalo Bill e gli indiani (Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson), regia di Robert Altman (1976)
  40. Slap Shot, directed by George Roy Hill (1977)
  41. Quintet (Quintet), royal di Robert Altman (1979)
  42. There is no escape now (When Time Ran Out …), directed by Irwin Allen (1980)
  43. Bronx 41st district of police (Fort Apache the Bronx), directed by Daniel Petrie (1981)
  44. Absence of Malice, by Sydney Pollack (1981)
  45. The Verdict (The Verdict), by Sidney Lumet (1982)
  46. Harry & Son, by Paul Newman (1984)
  47. The Color of Money, directed by Martin Scorsese (1986)
  48. The Shadow of a Thousand Suns (Fat Man and Little Boy), by Roland Joffe (1989)
  49. Scandalo Blaze (Blaze), by Ron Shelton (1989)
  50. Mr. & Mrs. Bridge, regia di James Ivory (1990)
  51. Mister Hula Hoop (The Hudsucker Proxy), regia di Joel ed Ethan Coen (1994)
  52. Nobody’s Fool, by Robert Benton (1994)
  53. Twilight (Twilight), regia di Robert Benton (1998)
  54. The Words that I Didn’t Say to You (Message in a Bottle), directed by Luis Mandoki (1999)
  55. For love… of money (Where the Money Is), directed by Marek Kanievska (2000)
  56. Road to Perdition, directed by Sam Mendes (2002)

Paul Newman out of the cinema

Paul Newman and a political activist in the 70s, in support of the American Senator Eugene McCarthy against the then American President Richard Nixon , with whom he has no bad blood.

Passionate about engines, in the 1969 film “Indianapolis piste infernal” he played the role of Frank Capua, a leading driver, competing alongside professional drivers who were loaned to the film at that time. 

In this way the passion for four wheels was born that led him to start a real career as an amateur driver, in parallel with the cinematographic profession. 

Often and willingly he even participated in races on American car circuits , however with good results. Whether he drove a Ferrari, a Porsche or a Ford made no difference to him. 

Gain wide acclaim even in the form of a non-professional driver. In the automotive world he strengthens its presence through the acquisition as owner of some professional teams competing in the major championships.

The epilogue, however, of his life falls in 2008. In July of that same year he receives the bad news of having lung cancer.

A slow agony that resulted in natural death in September 2008 at the age of 83. He spends the last moments of his life with his family in Westport, Connecticut. 

On September 26, 2008, American and international cinema lost one of its brightest stars who, in any case, continue to shine from up there even today.

Some actors never die and remain etched forever in the memory of anyone who has seen at least one of his films.