The Charles Street Times
Newman leaves a legacyFriday, November 07, 2008 By Reem Zohny
September 27, 2008 was a day of mourning not only in Hollywood, but across the nation, when Paul Newman passed away at age 83 after complications from lung cancer. Newman has been celebrated for his roles in several dozen films, with numerous awards. However, he is never given enough recognition for his accomplishments as a philanthropist. Newman is a prime example of using wealth and power in a positive light; the charitable work he has done should be admired by all. Newman had a humble start in Cleveland, Ohio where he lived with his father and brother, both named Arthur, and his mother, Teresa Fetzer. Fetzer, “an avid theatergoer” herself, pushed her son towards acting as a boy which in turn resulted in the unusual combination of school plays and football games. After high school, he joined the Navy Air Corps in hopes of becoming a pilot. However, after learning of his color-blindness, Newman was at a loss for a career. He was led back to football and Kenyon College, where he obtained an athletic scholarship. Soon after, his father passed away and Newman once again returned to his hometown of Cleveland to run the family’s seasoned and prosperous sporting goods store. After all the obstacles and the several adjustments Newman was forced to make, it seemed that his career in acting was inevitable, when he finally pursued acting in a small role in the Broadway performance of “Picnic”. Newman had a relatively slow and rocky climb to stardom. A director, Arthur Penn, even went as far to say that, “Paul suffered a little bit from being so handsome—people doubted just how well he could act.” His trademark brilliant blue eyes could have actually held him back, ironically, in a profession so often based on looks. Aside from his eventual acting success, the love fostered for Newman comes for many after learning of his generosity. The well known brand of Newman’s Own has graced dinner tables and lemonade stands nation-wide. In 1982 Newman began jarring and selling salad dressing on a whim, with his friend, A.E. Hotchner. Newman himself, referred to the creation of the Newman’s Own brand name as, “the joke that got out of control”. However, now twenty-five years later, over 250,000,000 dollars in donations is no laughing matter. His non-profit corporation expanded into other organic foods, like popcorn, lemonade, and spaghetti sauce. Closest to Paul’s heart were his Hole in the Wall camps, catered towards children with serious medical conditions. The idea is to relieve the children from life’s stressors and live by the motto, “laughter is the best medicine.” The camps have offered “therapeutic recreation, intentional programming and year-round support that provide encouragement, motivation, and confidence” to over 119,000 children. A short twenty years after their start in 1988 the camps have expanded into an effort of global proportions. Newman is still considered one of the greatest actors of the twentieth century; however his legacy will not only live on in Hollywood, but in the hearts of children across the world. Like Newman said, we all need to “be a little like a farmer, who puts back in the soil what he takes out.” The next time you’re at the grocery store, honor Newman’s legacy and buy a carton of lemonade.