France remembers Paul Newman
President Sarkozy and other French leaders honour the famed Hollywood actor after his death on Friday.29 September 2008
PARIS -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy Friday described Paul Newman as a "Hollywood legend" and open-hearted philanthropist, leading tributes in a country where the star, who died at age 83, was wildly popular.
"World cinema has been bereaved by the death of Paul Newman, whose celebrated blue eyes will only light up screens now", he said after Newman’s death to cancer on Friday.
"At a time when his (1972) film "The Effect of Gamma Rays On Man in the Moon Marigolds" is being screened again in France, my thoughts go out to his two leading actresses, his wife Joanne Woodward and his daughter.
"His charm, his natural elegance... epitomised the confidence and the relaxedness of a happy and prosperous post-war America but also its fragility and its doubts", he said.
Describing him as an "actor, author, screenwriter, director, producer and philanthropist", Sarkozy said Newman was "also a great friend of France", where his passion for car racing led him to finish second in the world-renowned 24-hour race at Le Mans in 1979.
French Culture Minister Christine Albanel said Newman will remain a "very big figure in the world of American cinema, a giant, and without doubt one of the most gifted products of the Actor's Studio".
The Actor's Studio was an iconic New York membership organisation for professional actors, theatre directors and playwrights in the Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood of New York City.
The star was "one of the few people who elevated the role of a cinema actor to artistic perfection", she said.
"He dominated the world of American cinema for more than 50 years", Albanel said. "He was a complete artist, blessed with great generosity and humanity who always displayed his solidarity with those less fortunate".
Gilles Jacob, the president of the Cannes film festival -- where Newman in 1958 won the best actor award for his role in the film 'The Long Hot Summer' -- saluted his animal magnetism.
"He was someone from the generation of the Brandos, the Eastwoods, the James Deans and the Redfords", he said, referring to famed Hollywood stars Marlon Brando, Clint Eastwood, James Dean and Robert Redford.
"He was handsome. He had magnificent blue eyes which he often screwed up in his films as there was an eternal cigarette dangling from his lips".
[AFP / Expatica]