Paul Newman: A Life

Shawn Levy, Author . Harmony $29.99 (490p) ISBN 978-0-307-35375-7

Film critic and biographer Levy (Rat Pack Confidential ) embarks on a respectful, thoroughgoing survey of Newman's long life (1925–2008) and massive film career without lingering on emotional and psychological factors. A kind of accidental hero, Newman recognized that his blue-eyed good looks would open doors for him, but by sheer determination and work ethic he muscled his way to the Olympian heights of America's finest actors. Born to middle-class Jewish parents in Shaker Heights, Ohio, he eventually enlisted in the navy then attended Kenyon College on the GI Bill; his early first marriage and dabbling in theater seemed to be a way to avoid having to return home and take over his father's sporting-goods store. He enrolled in Yale's drama department, then in 1952 gave himself a year in New York to prove himself: he hustled small, paying parts and gradually became a part of the Actors Studio, where he claimed to have learned everything he knew about acting. From then on, using his connections shrewdly, he moved from success on Broadway (Picnic , where he met Joanne Woodward, whom he married in 1958) to TV (Our Town ) and Hollywood (Somebody Up There Likes Me ). From there, the professional accolades began piling up, while Levy also chronicles Newman's stunning success as a race-car driver, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Levy doesn't shy from discussing Newman's shortcomings as a father and husband, yet he leaves a glowing assessment of this legend's career. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/30/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 490 pages - 978-1-84513-493-8
Compact Disc - 5 pages - 978-0-307-57655-2
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-6600-6
Open Ebook - 349 pages - 978-0-307-46253-4
Paperback - 490 pages - 978-0-307-35376-4
Hardcover - 801 pages - 978-1-4104-1899-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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