With the mourning tributes and posts that have been written since the passing of screen icon Paul Newman, it didn't dawn on me until a few days ago that I met him a few years ago.
Well, "met" is such a strong word. I was in the same room with him and about 40 other star-struck reporters from around the globe. It was at the press junket for the movie "Cars," where he played a wise, elderly automobile, at none other than Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord. Apart from running into Norm from "Cheers" and seeing Bonnie Hunt fly right by me, Newman was the only celebrity I actually spent time with. (Someday, when we're alone, I'll tell you how disastrous that junket was for me.)
I actually asked him a question amidst all the media fawning — and it was a good one. It was about this horrible idea, which fortunately never became a reality. And the man answered it. Me and Butch actually exchanged words!
You can read both the question and the answer in a piece I wrote about the whole experience here.
Since I'm here, here is some more Newman love from a couple of my film-critic pals:
Joe Leydon Also Remembers A Press Junket Meeting With Newman: "He sat on a chair near where [Joanne] Woodward was seated, facing me while she
chatted with another journalist. And every so often while we talked,
he’d turn around, make sure she wasn’t looking at him, and… and… well,
reach out to grab her . . . "
Matt Prigge Counts Down the Newman Movies He Hasn't Seen: "On a more guilty pleasure front, I’ve always wanted to see the bizarre sounding "Rashomon" remake "The Outrage" (1964) co-starring Edward G. Robinson and William Shatner, as well as "Fort Apache the Bronx" (1981). I am a bad cinephile."