"Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand."
I was in jr high the first time I saw one of your movies. I was watching TV on a late Saturday afternoon. I was flipping through channels when a young Tom Cruise in an Elvis haircut playing pool caught my eye. The Color of Money. Then you entered the scene as "Fast Eddie Felson" and proceeded to own Mr. Scientology for the rest of the movie. I was blown away. Who is this old fart with piercing blue eyes? And where can I see more of him?
(Then my A.D.D. kicked in.)
It wasn't until 2002 that I saw you again, in Road to Perdition as Tom Hanks's mob boss. You didn't disappoint. You had gotten older, but somehow gotten even more badass.
Flash forward to summer of 2008. Thanks to the magic of Blockbuster Online, I was finally catching up on old classics. The Godfather. On the Waterfront. Papillon. Then I got to two of yours. Harper. Cool Hand Luke. Your character in Harper was a smartass detective with a mouth. Of course I loved it. And I had heard so much about Cool Hand Luke that I was afraid my expectations were too high. They weren't. The egg-eating scene that ends with the shot of you in the crucifix position just killed me. I have a stupid grin on my face right now as I'm thinking about it.
I still haven't seen your other classics like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Sting. (I know, how can I call myself a film geek? I hang my head in shame.) But I see it now. Mr. Newman, you're the Man. There probably will never be another actor like you, and that's okay because we can always catch you on TV, DVDs, and in our memories. Thank you for the movies you made, and thank you for your generous contributions to charities. (Your salad dressings have contributed more than $200 million. My goodness.)
You'll be missed by this wannabe film geek.
p.s. Crap, I totally forgot that you were in The Hudsucker Proxy. I love that movie! You rule!