When I was on NHL.com yesterday, I read the terrible news that the great Paul Newman had passed away at the age of 83. One of the great, iconic actors has died.
Everybody has memories of Paul Newman—mostly from movies, mind you, but those still count. In Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Robert Redford says, "I can't swim!" Paul Newman looks at him after laughing and says, "You can't swim! The fall will probably kill ya!"
When I was 11, I barely knew who Paul Newman was. I thought he was some old actor that my parents always talked about from way back in the day.
One day, I remember telling my mom that I wanted her to rent me D2: The Mighty Ducks. When she returned from the local store, she handed me a movie and said, "Sorry, honey, they didn't have The Mighty Ducks, so I got you this." She then handed me a movie with a picture of a guy holding a "For Sale" sign. It was Slap Shot.
At first, I was angry because I couldn't watch Charlie Conway or Gordon Bombay, but out of that I discovered the great Reg Dunlop, as played by Paul Newman.
As I watched the movie, I was lost in watching the Hanson brothers destroy every team that tried to score. I saw Denis Lemieux go on his rants saying things like, "Trade me right f$%@ing now!"
But the biggest thing I remember is Paul Newman giving those great speeches, talking about old time hockey and Eddie Shore.
After the movie, I was proud to say how much I liked it. I asked my mom and dad who that was and they said Paul Newman.
The next day, when I came home from school, I looked in our movie cabinet, searching for a movie that had Paul Newman. After about three minutes of digging around, I found The Hustler. As I watched Fast Eddie Nelson go through the struggles of trying to beat the great Minnesota Fats, I realized then and there that Paul Newman was a great actor.
Later on I saw him in other great movies like The Sting, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, and coming back as Fast Eddie Nelson in The Color of Money. Still, I will never forget how I felt when I watched Slap Shot for the first time.
You will be missed, Paul Newman, and may you rest in peace.
I encourage anybody who has a memory of Paul Newman to leave it as a comment so everybody can enjoy.