Quote of the Day “Never revisit the past, that’s dangerous. You know, move on.” Robert Redford
I guess Bogey was the first cool guy from a mass appeal standpoint. And there was John Wayne, the original Duke. Dale Earnhardt was cool. So was Ted Williams. Waylon Jennings. Paul Newman was too.
We should always remain cognizant of the fact we do not know the people we see on television and in the movies. We know their image though, and few have attained the level of cool in our minds that Newman did. Newman played all the roles guys see themselves in at some point and he made them all cool. A young stud in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a misunderstood loner punk in Cool Hand Luke, a mentor in The Sting and The Color of Money, an asshole runnin buddy in Sundance Kid, and a cynical former idealist in The Verdict.
In his real life, Newman seemed no less cool. He served in the Navy as a rear seat radio-man and gunner in World War II before he was an actor and at the end of his career he became a successful businessman who donated his profits to charity. The main beneficiary of that largesse is “The Hole in the Wall Gang”. That’s a summer camp for seriously ill children he founded. Very cool. He was married to his second wife, Joanne Woodward from 1958 until his death and of her once remarked, upon being asked about his fidelity, “why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?” He made 19th on Nixon’s enemies list. He was a race car driver for christsakes. The man was cool.
I fear cool is dying with Newman’s generation. Really, who compares to those guys in all around coolness? I’ve racked my brain for someone in sports or entertainment. There are some who come close, like Clooney, Favre, Bono, maybe some others, but they don’t quite measure up, maybe because we know too much about celebrities these days.
Thank God we’ve still got Willie Nelson.