Paul Newman (born January 26, 1925) is an American actor and film director.
He was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio to a Catholic mother and a Jewish father who owned a successful sporting goods store. He served in the Navy in World War II, in the Pacific theater. When he returned to America he attended Kenyon College and Yale University. While he was attending graduate school at Yale, he became a successful stage actor on Broadway. His first movie, The Silver Chalice has been described by Newman as the "worst movie of the entire 1950s decade", but he rebounded with a series of acclaimed roles. Newman was one of the few actors who successfully made the transition from 1950s to the 1960s and 1970s cinema. His rebellious persona translated well to a subsequent generation.
Although frequently nominated, Newman has won only one Oscar in a competitive category, for his leading role on The Color of Money in 1986. The award came a year after he won an honorary Oscar for his "many and memorable and compelling screen performances."
He married Joanne Woodward in 1958, and later directed her in Rachel, Rachel, a film for which he won a Golden Globe as director and was nominated for an Oscar as the producer. He was also nominated for an Emmy Award for his lead role in a 2003 production of Our Town.
Newman is known as the co-owner of the Newman-Haas team a CART Championship auto racing team. He first became interested in the sport ("the first thing that I ever found I had any grace in") while filming Winning, a 1968 film. His first professional event was in 1972, in Thompson, Connecticut.
As a gentlemen driver Paul Newman ran the 24 hours of Le Mans once in 1979, driving a Porsche 935, he finished second.
He cofounded Newman/Haas Racing in 1983.
He is the now the oldest driver to win a major sanctioned race, having won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1995 at the age of 70.
Newman founded Newman's Own, a line of food products, in 1982. The brand started with salad dressing, and has expanded to include pasta sauce, lemonade, popcorn, and salsa, among other things. Newman donates the proceeds, after taxes, to charity. As of 2003, the franchise has resulted in $150 million in donations. He cowrote a memoir about the subject, Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good (ISBN 0385508026).
One beneficiary of his charity is the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, located between Ashford and Eastford, Connecticut. Named for the gang in his film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, it is a camp for seriously ill children he cofounded in 1986.
In 1994, the Motion Picture Academy awarded him The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in recognition of his charitable work.
For his strong support of Eugene McCarthy in 1968 (and effective use of television commercials in California), Newman was 19th on Richard Nixon's enemies list. He has said that this is one of his life's proudest achievements.
Students at Princeton University have named 24 April Newman's Day. Students try to drink 24 beers over the 24 hours of the day. The tradition stems from a comment that Newman is alleged to have made; "24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not." The event is not officially sponsored by the university, and Newman has commented that he would "like to bring an end to the tradition".