Goodbye, Paul

I was concentrating on Ms. Woodward, who looked absolutely stunning in her simplicity, her white hair pulled back into a simple ponytail.

During spring break 2002, I traveled to New York City for the express purpose of seeing a limited-engagement revival of Arthur Miller's _The Crucible_ at the Virginia Theater. The production featured Liam Neeson and Laura Linney as John and Elizabeth Proctor. _The Crucible_ is part of a clutch of what I consider the finest American plays (including Tennessee Williams's peerless _A Streetcar Named Desire_ and _The Glass Menagerie_).

It was, as I had hoped, magnificent, and after the play I braved the cold near the stage door in hopes of meeting the stars. It must have been the night for well-known friends of the cast to attend, because it was a treat watching famous audience members exit through the side door. I was able to take a fine photo of Christian Slater and his gal pal.

Looking back, what almost eclipsed getting Laura Linney's photograph and posing with the unfailingly polite Liam Neeson for a picture was seeing Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward quietly leave the theater and get into a chauffeured car parked at the curb right next to where I patiently stood rubbing my hands together and stamping my feet.

Mr. Newman looked much older than I had expected, and he didn't deign to recognize those of us who recognized him. I was concentrating on Ms. Woodward, who looked absolutely stunning in her simplicity, her white hair pulled back into a simple ponytail. I called out to her several times, but it was only when I referenced her work in the film version of _The Glass Menagerie_ (directed by Mr. Newman) that she shyly looked my way. It was an amazing moment on a spectacular night that I will never forget.

Robert Redford was right: The world is a better place because Paul Newman lived in it. What an actor. What a humanitarian. Rest in peace, Mr. Newman, and may God grant you peace and solace, Ms. Woodward.

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