Paul Newman died today at 83. He brought both panache and gravitas (those were the words that came to mind, honest) to his many film roles and was kind of a hero in real life too, as a fighter for good causes. Was he "one of us" in the crime fiction genre? I'd say so. How would you define Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? The Color of Money? The Sting? I'll leave it at that and hope others will join me in paying tribute.

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He was just the coolest. I was at the library today and saw Newman's piercing blue eyes staring at me from the cover of THE COLOR OF MONEY. Needless to say, I took him home with me. Maybe I'll pop THE HUSTLER into the DVD tonight and watch 'em back-to-back.
My all-time favorite actor, and one helluva human being. RIP, Paul.
I'm sad about him too. If memory serves correctly, my mother and I saw him on Broadway in CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF when I was still a child. Ironically, I first learned about his death at a Mystery Writers of America/Sisters in Crime dinner in Albany last Saturday night. The author Julia Pomeroy was the one who told me. Sorry, Julia, but I'll always have this association - something like remembering where I was when I heard Kennedy or John Lennon had died.

I visited one of his Hole in the Wall camps for seriously ill children - the one in the Adirondacks - as part of the Mental Health Players, an improvisatory theatre troup. Wonderful place - sorry he wasn't there.

As someone who deals professionally and in fiction with end-of-life issues, I wonder why he was so guarded about going public with his terminal illness, although it was common knowledge in the tabloids. Perhaps he just didn't want the attention.


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