The passing of actor Paul Newman, the “coolest hand in Hollywood” according to the headline in the San Jose Mercury (linked here), is reference to the sports-genre movie credit that he may best known for, outside of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
That was for playing poker — which we’ll allow as a sport, since ESPN broadcasts it now as one. In the 1967 “Cool Hand Luke,” Newman became the coolest.
Twice, he played pool. In the 1961 “The Hustler,” and the 1986 sequel, “The Color of Money,” where he won the best actor Oscar.
In the 1956 adaptation of middle-weight boxing champion Rocky Graziano’s life, “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” Newman played the role after James Dean was killed in a car accident before the start of production.
He raced cars, for real and in movies, such as in the 1969 flick, “Winning,” as Frank Capua.
But, when our arm is twisted (not very hard), the spot we stop at on his IMDB.com site (linked here) is as our coach, Reg Dunlop, in “Slap Shot” (1977), of which New Yorker critic Pauline Kael wrote: “Even when he plays a bastard, he’s not a big bastard — only a callow, selfish one, like Hud….His likableness is infectious; nobody should ever be asked not to like Paul Newman.”
We direct you to this obit written by ESPN’s Terry Frei (linked here).
Just read the list of famous quotes from the movie, many attributed to Newman’s character (linked here).
So put on the foil, check out this ESPN story (click here), and watch the video: