The Kennedy Center

Paul Newman


Paul Newman
(actor, born January 26, 1925, cleveland, Ohio - died September 26, 2008)

Joanne Woodward
(actress, born February 27, 1930, Thomasville, Georgia)


For 39 years Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, together and separately, have created some of the most powerful films of their time. To people all over the world their names stand for ideals of riveting acting, charisma, sex appeal, and of course, marital success. She has won major acting awards for her work in films and television, and he's racked up a total of eight Academy Award nominations and two Oscars.

1958 was a very good year for Newman and Woodward; the first of the many Newman-Woodward films was released (The Long Hot Summer), she won the best actress Oscar (The Three Faces of Eve), he starred in MGM's biggest money-maker of the year (Cat On a Hot Tin Roof), and they were married.

Their careers started together in New York. After studying at the Actors Studio, Newman made his Broadway debut in 1953, playing the small-town college boy in William Inge's Pulitzer Prize-winning Picnic. In that same production, Woodward was an understudy as one of the town's love-starved females.

A year later he made his film debut, and she followed in '55. Throughout the late '50s, they starred together and separately in the biggest hits of the era--No Down Payment, From the Terrace, Somebody Up There Likes Me, The Left-Handed Gun, and The Young Philadelphians. Both Newman and Woodward ended the decade with Tennessee Williams--he starred in the Broadway production of Sweet Bird of Youth; she teamed up with Marlon Brando for the film version of Orpheus Descending, renamed The Fugitive Kind.

The careers that followed brought more glory. Newman put in what many consider his best work (what film critics Pauline Kael described as "casual American star-acting at its peak") in a string of "H" pictures (The Hustler, Hud, Harper, Hombre); teamed up with Robert Redford for the birth of the "buddy" movies (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting); and matured into one of film's most forceful presences (Absence of Malice, The Verdict, Nobody's Fool). He finally won his long-coveted Best Actor Oscar for The Color of Money. Meanwhile, she has displayed an incredible versatility in films (A Fine Madness, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge), television (Sybil, See How She Runs) and on stage with appearances in New York and around the country.

In 1968 they launched a strong new chapter in their career when he stepped behind the camera for the first time to direct her in the widely acclaimed Rachel, Rachel. The picture was nominated for four Oscars, including one for Woodward as best actress, and he was named best director of the year by the New York Film Critics. The couple's subsequent director-star projects have included The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The Shadow Box, and The Glass Menagerie.

Newman and Woodward collaborate on other things as well. They sponsor the Save the Children foster parent campaign and a camp for children with life-threatening illnesses. She works with and financially backs dance troupes and research for Alzheimer's disease. In 1982 Newman set up a corporation to manufacture and market an original salad dressing which soon grew, with the help of popcorn and spaghetti sauce, to a multimillion dollar business. All the company's profits are donated to more than 80 medical, cultural, social, and environmental organizations in the United States and overseas that range from drug-prevention programs for teenagers to African famine relief and the Actors Studio.
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