While I was busy hopping planes and reading Orthodox prayers at dangerous altitudes, Paul Newman passed away.
He was a sex symbol way before I was even born, leading most of my friends to diagnose my crush on him as a symptom of raging insecurities. In some ways, I suppose my friends were correct. But Paul Newman never struck me as just “hot,” more like forthright and noble with the hotness being the cherry on top of it all: a modern-day Aragorn with an especially pretty smile.
Eulogizing one’s old, hopeful, fluttery movie star crushes is a deeply unpleasant task. But unlike Brad Renfro and Heath Ledger, Paul Newman didn’t die young. This wasn’t a case of a tragic, creepy, voyeuristically glamorous (in the sense of madness and personal turmoil being glamorous if their vessel is attractive enough) waste. This was a ripe, old, and rich life drawing to a conclusion. We should all hope to live as long and do as much good.
The one thing that makes me really sad when considering Newman’s passing is the fact that there are few young actors in Hollywood who can hope to measure up. And this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with them, but with the idea that the business appears to be changing. The whole idea of the superstar is becoming largely passé, or so I have noticed in the last few years. On one hand, this is a good thing, especially if you’re tired of the same damn warmed-over, flavourless, soppy blockbuster being shoveled down your throat with demeneted insistence. On the other hand, there will be less Newmans. You win some, you lose some, I guess.
Regardless of whether I’m right or wrong: Rest easy, Paul. If anyone has earned it, you have.