PAUL NEWMAN SUPERSTAR by Lionel Godfrey

PAUL NEWMAN SUPERSTAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The title says it all--a starry-eyed valentine from an outsider gazing wistfully in (Paul Newman respectfully declined to be party to a biography). The author assesses Newman's particular drawing card as a succession of paradoxical images: toughness vs. vulnerability, physical appeal vs. a hint of the cerebral, the alienated loner vs. the big-time operator, ruthlessness vs. charm, etc. If the categories seem a bit tired, they are at least applied assiduously as the book recounts Newman's professional (seldom personal) pursuits: Somebody Up There Likes Me offered a ""loser who became a winner""; Hud presented ""the amiable rotter""; Newman's performance as the quintessential misfit in Cool Hand Luke was laced with ""humanity and humor."" In the case of films that were neither critical nor commercial successes, the author frequently hastens to exonerate Newman's performance and will admit of no blame beyond a poor choice of script. Newman's 20-year marriage to Joanne Woodward is treated with reverence (""one of the most durable of the famous marriages of our time""), and Woodward's talents are often bathed in the glow that emanates from Newman's halo. A craftsmanlike study for the worshipful; hankerers after blazing biographical insights will have to look to the future.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1978
Publisher: St. Martin's