The world has lost "one of the last of the great 20th-century movie stars," said Aljean Harmetz in The New York Times. Paul Newman, who died Friday, redefined the “defiant American male” as a “likable renegade, a strikingly handsome figure of animal high spirits and blue-eyed candor whose magnetism was almost impossible to resist, whether the character was Hud, Cool Hand Luke or Butch Cassidy.”
Aside from acting in more than 65 movies in 50-plus years, said Mark Caro in the Chicago Tribune, Newman was “beloved” for the “hundreds of millions of charitable dollars generated by his popular food products.” He also “threw his weight behind various political causes and Democratic candidates,” and his support of McCarthy for president in 1968 “landed him on President Richard Nixon's enemies list.”
“We have a special affection for a man who decided, at the peak of his acting career, that a devotion to play was important as well,” said Richard Hoffer in Sports Illustrated online. Newman managed to become a race car driver and team owner for nearly 40 years, and he “proved to be no hobbyist”—he “seemed truly taken” by the sport.
“He was also a family man,” said Stephen Hunter in The Washington Post. Newman stuck with the woman “who was with him on the rough climb up,” remaining married to his second wife—the actress Joanne Woodward—for over 50 years. “Fifty years a star and 50 years a class act—how Paul Newman is that?”