I caught a glimpse of him during one of his visits to New Orleans where I grew up. He was dining quietly with a group of people in a restaurant in the French Quarter. He struck me as a very normal, happy guy. They supposedly visited my home city many times, enjoying the history and the art.
He filmed many movies in and about the South, and seemed to capture the rawness of it - the part I liked a lot. He always reminded me a little of Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire, except he was Newman. Many liked him as Butch Cassidy with Redford, but I will always appreciate him in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I also admit to being addicted to his wonderful Marinara sauce and his salsas - awesome and charitable. Wow, what a great guy.
I once walked into a bar in Munich in the eighties where they were playing Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The bar patrons were all saying the lines, some Taylor's and some Newman's. I found myself playing Newman with them and watching the whole movie. The odd part occurred when I tried to talk to them about the movie, and I soon found out that none of them spoke English. It was surreal to say the least.
He made me appreciate New Orleans and the South more growing up and I will always consider him one of my role models. I'll even go so far as to say that Paul Newman reminded me of my dad in some ways. He died when I was eight (he was struck by a car being chased by police 39 years ago today), and in my memory, they were similar. Mr. Newman, thank you for showing me and many others a great example of how to live a great life. We will miss you. My condolences to your wonderful wife and family. I hope you find peace and happiness - again - wherever God leads you.
A Personal Eulogy - Michael