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Paul Newman came to be known as one of the finest actors of his time. He also started the Newman's Own food company, which donates all profits to charity.
Paul Newman - Heartthrob (2:42)
Paul Newman - Philanthropist (2:21)
An inside look at Paul Newmans role in Martin Scorseses film "The Color of Money."
Watch a short video about Paul Newman whose acting career earned him eight Oscar nominations. In his later years, he became a prolific philanthropist, launching his own successful charity.
Paul Newman was born on January 26, 1925. As Paul grew into a handsome teenager, his good looks won him female admirers wherever he went. But, to his friends, he never showed an ounce of conceit.
After tasting oily salad dressing in a restaurant, Paul Newman, almost as a joke, took his Newman?s Own salad dressing to supermarkets and donated the profits to charity.
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He went on to win a national Sports Car Club of America title four years later. In 1977, Newman made the leap and became a professional racer. In 1995, Newman served as part of the winning team at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. With his victory, Newman became the oldest driver to win this 24-hour-long race.
Newman started his own food company in the early 1980s. He started out the business by making bottles of salad dressing to give out as gifts for Christmas one year with his friend,
writer A. E. Hotchner. Newman then had an unusual idea as to what to do with the leftovers -- he wanted to try selling the dressing to stores. The two went on to found Newman's Own, whose profits and royalties are used for educational and charitable purposes. The company’s product line now extends from dressings to sauces to snacks to cookies. Since the inception of Newman’s Own, over $250 million has been donated to thousands of charities worldwide.
Newman’s other charitable foundations include the Scott Newman Center, which he founded in 1978, after his only son died of an accidental overdose of alcohol and prescription drugs. The group seeks to stop drug abuse through educational programs. He also established the Hole in the Wall Camps to give children with life-threatening illnesses a memorable, free holiday. In 1988, the first residential summer camp was opened in Ashford, Connecticut. There are now eight camps in the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom and France. Some of the funds raised by Newman’s Own have gone to support the Hole in the Wall Camps.
Known for his love of race cars, Newman lent his distinctive voice to the 2006 animated film Cars, playing the part of Doc Hudson -- a retired racecar. He also served as the narrator for the 2007 documentary The Price of Sugar, which explored the work of Father Christopher Hartley and his efforts to help the workers in the Dominican Republic’s sugar cane fields.
That same year, Newman announced that he was retiring from acting. "I'm not able to work anymore as an actor at the level I would want to," he said during an appearance on Good Morning America. "You start to lose your memory, your confidence, your invention. So that’s pretty much a closed book for me."
Newman, however, wasn't going to leave the business entirely. He was planning on directing Of Mice and Men at the Westport Country Playhouse the following year. But he ended up withdrawing from the production because of health problems, and rumors began to circulate that the great actor was seriously ill. Statements from the actor and his representatives simply said he was "doing nicely" and, reflective of Newman's sense of humor, being treated “for athlete's foot and hair loss."
A private man, Newman chose to keep the true nature of his illness to himself. He succumbed to cancer at his Westport, Connecticut home on September 26, 2008. This is where he and his wife had lived for numerous years to get away from the spotlight and where they chose to raise their three daughters, Nell, Melissa and Clea.
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