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Paul Newman's Gritty Loners, Moral Outlaws


Next, let's take a moment to remember Paul Newman who died over the weekend. The many tributes to actor included two from state-run newspapers in Iran. One published the actor's picture and called him the last classic star. Another announced the end of the blue-eyed boy. Paul Newman was 83 years old when he died but it was hard to forget the striking looks that Newman maintained very far into his life. It was equally hard to forget his smooth acting. He was the pool shark fast Eddie Felson in the movie "The Hustler" talking over the situation with his manager Bert.

(Soundbite of movie "The Hustler")

Mr. PAUL NEWMAN: (As Eddie Felson) How should I play that one, Bert? Play it safe? That's what he always told me to play it, safe. Play the percentage. One ball, corner pocket. Yeah, percentage players die as broke too, don't they, Bert? It's not enough that you just have talent, you got to have character, too. Four ball.

INSKEEP: That was just one of the many edgy roles that Paul Newman took on. He was a convict. He was a spy behind the iron curtain. He was a cop in one of the worst neighborhoods in New York City. Closer to the end of his long career, Paul Newman kept working. And to the movie "Nobody's Fool" he played a grandfather. Here giving some advice to his grandson.

(Soundbite of movie "Nobody's Fool")

Mr. PAUL NEWMAN: (As Sully Sullivan) You know what I used to do when I was your age and I got scared? I try to be brave for exactly a minute, and the next time I try to be brave for two minutes.

Mr. ALEXANDER GOODWIN: (As Will Sullivan) What were you scared of?

Mr. NEWMAN: (As Sully Sullivan) I don't remember. When you get to be my age, you won't remember either. Here, you can time yourself with it. The big hand go around once that'll be a minute. Goes around again, that'll be two minutes and you can tell how long you've been brave. Here.

INSKEEP: For more than half a century, Paul Newman played men who had courage or just as often men who struggled as we do to find it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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