Monday, April 20, 2009

Let the Gloves Come Off

Shawn Levy (sex now in question thanks to gymnast Shawn Johnson) is putting out a biography of Paul Newman through Harmony Books in May and according to the New York Post, it’s not all roses and chocolate covered candies. Levy reportedly paints Newman as a womanizing drunk. Meanwhile, the flowers haven’t even been able to bloom on the plot of land under which he was buried. The integrity of a man’s memory astounds me sometimes.

I haven’t gotten my forwarded copy of the book yet (call me, Harmony!), but based on the Post’s description, I can’t help but cringe at the portrait Levy paints of a man who has done so much – and so quietly – for the world around him without asking anything in return.

According to the biography, Newman was a functioning alcoholic who wore a bottle opener around his neck. He put away “beer after beer after beer,” allegedly chasing a case or more a day with scotch. According to onlookers, says Levy, Newman was seen “drinking beers on the set, in his office, at parties, during interviews, watching TV, getting ready for TV and relaxing after dinner.” I can’t even… Listen, there’s a time and a place for beer, I’m sure, but a party certainly isn't one of them. And relaxing after dinner? Who did this guy think he was, some sort of bootlegger?

Another searing allegation is that Newman cheated on his wife with a journalist during the filming of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The reporter was doing a puff piece at the time and this whole story was borderline believable until Levy wrote that the reporter was the one who ended things. She allegedly told Newman, “You’re always drunk, and you can’t even make love.”

Call me a skeptic, I don’t really care, but getting Paul Newman drunk all the time would be the only way most of us would get him into bed in the first place. I don’t know any woman who would have ended a relationship with him just because of that. Heck, I know people who would still date the guy if they had enough smelling salts and a heater on hand.

Listen, it’s all well and good if Shawn Levy wants to write a book about all the stories people who worked near Paul Newman want to tell now that he’s passed away, but let’s call it what it is, huh? A feature story for Star magazine. No more than a tabloid. It’s a slap in the face to Newman, his wife of 50 years, his children and all of the positive things he did during his life. Can we let a man rest in peace.

1 comment:

Robby Cress said...

Ok, so Mr. Newman liked to have a beer at parties, at dinner, etc. - doesn't make him an alcoholic. I'm curious how much Mr. Levy is trying to build controversy to hype his book and how much is true? Now if Newman was downing bottle after bottle of scotch instead of beers that would be a little different.