Heath Ledger died.
Normally I keep my computer going when I’m in because I’m on and off it so much. Bad for the environment? Probably. Still, the last time I actually said "Yes, I’m going to turn it off to give what I’m watching on TV a proper chance", I turned the computer back on to face the news that Heath was dead.
When I was staying briefly at my mum & dad’s house in August before going to Cork/Dublin, I turned away from the computer to watch a movie and when I came back, my beloved hero Ronnie Drew was dead.
Today, I switched off so I could try and concentrate on Flesh & The Devil, because it’s very hard to watch silent movies and other stuff too. My ‘rentals were to come over at some point so I figured I’d just shut down completely.
I just turned on about five minutes ago and faced this:
I may never turn this fucking thing off again. I can’t tell you that I was the world’s biggest Newman fan, but my level of affection towards the blue eyed wonder was higher by several degrees than for most of Hollywood’s merchandise. If you were to ask "Newman or McQueen?" in the same way as the "Elvis or the Beatles?" "The Beatles or The Stones?" questions, I would know my answer without a doubt or hesitation. I like Steve a lot, but Paul… As far as I’m concerned, Paul Newman is the star of The Towering Inferno and Steve McQueen is a support act. A really good, featured player but support nonetheless.
I remember it took me several goes to see Cool Hand Luke all the way through. That first time all the way through, though… I wept. Really cried for Luke and the injustice of it all.
And for all that, Newman’s Own original salad dressing is one of my favourites.
A lot of people ask me why I care so much when guys like Paul die. Why should I? I never met him, and you cannot call the death of an 83 year old man a tragedy. Normally I answer this question with a semi-standard answer along the lines of ‘the passage of time’ and the loss of a world and a life that I’ve a good deal of affection for.
However, Paul was never just an actor. What has been lost this time was a gentleman, someone who cared enough the world, and someone who was probably alone in not thinking himself one of the best Hollywood ever gave us. In a world full of small and inadequate movie stars and ‘celebrities’, Paul was a reminder of what we once had, what we deserved from that town: the best.