The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man

The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man

A Memoir

Summary

As seen in The Last Movie Stars documentary - the raw, candid, unvarnished memoir of an icon. The greatest movie star of the past 75 years covers everything: his traumatic childhood, his career, his drinking, his thoughts on Marlon Brando, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, his greatest roles, acting, his intimate life with Joanne Woodward, his innermost fears and passions and joys. With thoughts/comments throughout from Joanne Woodward, Tom Cruise and many others.

In 1986, Paul Newman and his closest friend, screenwriter Stewart Stern, began an extraordinary project. Stuart was to compile an oral history, to have Newman's family and friends and those who worked closely with him, talk about the actor's life. And then Newman would work with Stewart and give his side of the story. The only stipulation was that anyone who spoke on the record had to be completely honest. That same stipulation applied to Newman himself. The project lasted five years.

The result is an extraordinary memoir, culled from thousands of pages of transcripts. The book is insightful, revealing, surprising. Newman's voice is powerful, sometimes funny, sometimes painful, always meeting that high standard of searing honesty. The additional voices - from childhood friends and Navy buddies, from family members and film and theater collaborators such as Tom Cruise, George Roy Hill, Martin Ritt, and John Huston - that run throughout add richness and color and context to the story Newman is telling.

Newman's often traumatic childhood is brilliantly detailed. He talks about his teenage insecurities, his early failures with women, his rise to stardom, his early rivals (Brando and Dean), his first marriage, his drinking, his philanthropy, the death of his son Scott, his strong desire for his daughters to know and understand the truth about their father. Perhaps the most moving material in the book centers around his relationship with Joanne Woodward - their love for each other, his dependence on her, the way she shaped him intellectually, emotionally and sexually.

THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF AN ORDINARY MAN is revelatory and introspective, personal and analytical, loving and tender in some places, always complex and profound.

Praise for Paul Newman
'He set the bar too high for the rest of us. Not just actors, but all of us.' George Clooney

'He was the great role model in the way that he conducted his life. Look at him, and look at the man's work. As an actor, he was part of the definitive group of actors who really shaped what modern acting is. Yet, at the same time, he was a normal family man, and extremely philanthropic. His foundation will continue to do great things for children all around the world. He is really the role model; he's waht you want to aspire to be, both professionally and personally.' Leonardo DiCaprio

'He was a great fellow. He certainly had his priorities in line' family first and the business a distant second, while at the same time putting on screen some of the best performances of his lifetime and any other.' Russell Crowe

'One of the greatest screen actors of all time and a beautiful man.' Daniel Craig

''He was my hero.' Julia Roberts

'Paul was an American Icon.' President Bill Clinton

'The ultimate cool guy, who men wanted to be like and women adored. He was an American icon, a brilliant actor, a Renaissance man and a generous but modest philanthropist ... Newman entertained millions in some of Hollywood's most memorable roles ever, and brightened the lives of amny more, especially seriously ill children, through his charitable works.' Arnold Schwarzenegger

'Sometimes God makes perfect people and Paul Newman was one of them.' Sally Field

'One of the very finest screen actors of our time. Newman spanned the gap between the golden days of Hollywood, the 40s and 50s with actors like Cary Grant and James Stewart and Clark Gable, and the present lot represented by Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise' Sir Michael Parkinson

'Newman was a fine driver, who was famous in Hollywood for doing his own stunt driving as often as not.' Ron Dennis, Formula 1's McLaren Chief

'To say he was an extraordinary man would be an understatement. he saw himself as a working actor, not a movie star, and insisted that everyone else did the same. There was no ego, no entourage, no hangers on. Only Paul, his script and his incredible spirit. One can say this about very few people, but he was a truly great man. It seems to me to be one of the great 20th-century lives: he was famously generous, with his extraordinary and unstinting work for his charities, he was a shining example of how to use global fame for the greater good, and most of all he was one of the great movie actors of this or any other age. [Directing Newman] was the highlight of my professional life.' Sam Mendes

About the author

Paul Newman

PAUL NEWMAN was an American actor, film director, race car driver, and entrepreneur. Newman was the recipient of numerous awards, including an Academy Award, a BAFTA, three Golden Globes, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Primetime Emmy, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. His major film roles include The Hustler, Hud, Harper, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, The Verdict, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, Nobody's Fool, The Road to Perdition, and the voice role of Doc Hudson in Disney-Pixar's Cars. Ten-time Oscar nominee, Newman won an Academy Award for Best Actor for The Color of Money. Newman won several national championships as a race car driver. A political activist and humanitarian, he raised and donated nearly one billion dollars to many charities. Newman had six children and was married to Oscar-winning actress Joanne Woodward for 50 years. He died in 2008 at the age of 83.
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