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Cover for Paul Newman

Paul Newman

A Life

Shawn Levy


List Price: 18.00*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (5/4/2009)
Digital Audiobook (5/4/2009)


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “[This] absorbing, affectionate portrait manages to bring [Newman] back to us. . . . Paul Newman leaves readers with a surprisingly cheering message. If the rest of us can’t aspire to having Newman’s life, we can at least take inspiration from the way he lived his.”—The Washington Post

“A graceful tribute to a one-of-a-kind man.”—The Seattle Times
“Newman’s life was never dull, and Levy re-creates it in vivid detail.”—Parade

Paul Newman, the Oscar-winning actor with the legendary blue eyes, achieved superstar status by playing charismatic renegades, broken heroes, and winsome antiheroes in such revered films as The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Verdict, The Color of Money, and Nobody’s Fool. But Newman was also an oddity in Hollywood: the rare box-office titan who cared about the craft of acting, the sexy leading man known for the staying power of his marriage, and the humble celebrity who made philanthropy his calling card long before it was cool.
Unlike his father, a successful entrepreneur, Newman bypassed the family sporting goods business to pursue an acting career. After struggling as a theater and television actor, Newman landed the lead role of boxer Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me when, in a tragic twist of fate, James Dean was killed in a car accident. Part of the original Actors Studio generation, Newman demanded a high level of rigor and clarity from every project. The artistic battles that nearly derailed his early movie career would pay off handsomely at the box office and earn him critical acclaim.

He applied that tenacity to every endeavor both on and off the set. The outspoken Newman used his celebrity to call attention to political causes dear to his heart, including civil rights and nuclear proliferation. Taking up auto racing in midlife, Newman became the oldest driver to ever win a major professional auto race. A food enthusiast who would dress his own salads in restaurants, he launched the Newman’s Own brand dedicated to fresh ingredients, a nonprofit juggernaut that has generated more than $250 million for charity.

In Paul Newman: A Life, Shawn Levy gives readers the ultimate behind-the-scenes examination of the actor’s life, from his merry pranks on the set to his lasting romance with Joanne Woodward to the devastating impact of his son’s death from a drug overdose. This expansive biography is a portrait of an extraordinarily gifted man who gave back as much as he got out of life—and just happened to be one of the most celebrated movie stars of the twentieth century.

Praise For Paul Newman: A Life

“Richly researched . . . Being able to bask in Newman’s Own insights is enough to bring this one-of-a-kind star back to life, however briefly. And to miss him terribly again when the final page is turned.”USA Today

“Levy reveals the chinks . . . while still deeply appreciating the man.”People
“Eloquent and perceptive. . . Levy’s meticulously researched biography is as revealing a portrait as one could hope for.”Christian Science Monitor

“A rich account . . . It’s a testament to Levy’s storytelling that he can make leaf lettuce sound as dramatic as working with Robert Redford or Tom Cruise. . . . Paul Newman: A Life reads like a breeze.”Cleveland Plain Dealer

“[A] sturdy appreciation . . . Like his films and the charities bearing his name, this well-researched book reminds us of why we loved having him here.”New York Daily News

“Crisp, smart, and incisive, and the pages fly.”Boston Phoenix

“A sweeping tribute to Newman.”Time
“An excellent, warm overview of Paul Newman . . . A marvelous measure of the man.”Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Fascinating . . . A rich, serious, yet thoroughly readable biography of a major American movie icon.”The Oregonian (Portland)
“Tabloid journalism has made actors understandably wary of the press in general. They might be forthcoming if more writers focused on the acting, as Levy does here so perceptively.”Kansas City Star
“An illuminating look at one of the true greats, full of humor and intelligent analysis—highly recommended.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Crown, 9780307353764, 512pp.

Publication Date: May 4, 2010

About the Author

Shawn Levy is the author of six previous books, including the New York Times bestsellers Rat Pack Confidential and Paul Newman: A Life. He served as film critic of The Oregonian from 1997 to 2012 and is a former senior editor of American Film and a former associate editor of Box Office. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian, The Independent, Film Comment, Movieline, and Sight and Sound, among many other publications. He lives in Portland, Oregon.