I've been meaning to write a blog entry about Me & Paul Newman all week, & here it is.
One of the unexpected side benefits of a Major Celebrity or a Member of the British Royal Family dying, is that all the Big Highlights of their Lives are wheeled out for everyone to get all all choked up about.
Not that I was too choked up about Paul. I know that sounds a little Hard Hearted, but let's face it, he was pretty old & sick & I didn't know him personally. Ever since Princess Diana died, I've made it a rule not to bother getting upset when Famous People die. Just like everybody else, I cried through the entire ten hours of her televised funeral, from the time the coffin rolled out of the gates of Kensington Palace, to the gruelling flower-strewn trip to her final resting place. And when it was all over, you could have wrung me out like a rag. I was a mess.
So, even though I wasn't too sad about Paul's dying, seeing snatches of his best films on the news sent me into a Lather of Nostalgia & Not Quite, But Almost, Regret.
I970 was the year of Paul & Me.
I was in my final year of high school & all the boys that we'd frolicked with for the past three or so years had suddenly disappeared. They'd all gone to University or jobs or maybe they were just hiding in their bedrooms. Plus, we were supposed to be serious about studying for our Final Exams.
So Paul Newman became my boyfriend. And in many ways it was a pretty satisfying relationship.
It all started when the local run down Art Deco theatre, the 'Randwick Ritz' began showing double features of his early films on a saturday night. My friend Elizabeth & I would trawl up the hill from her place & sit on these creaky old seats where we salivated for hours watching 'Cool Hand Luke' or 'Harper' or 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'.
When it was over, we'd roll down the hill together in a trance & then spend the next couple of hours drooling over a huge poster of Paul that hung above Elizabeth's bed. I'd sleep over & before drifting off, would imagine myself lying in his arms while he whispered how wrong he'd been about loving his wife Joanne Woodward & how he'd finally found love at long last with me. This was a bit of a stretch to believe because I couldn't really imagine Paul Newman falling in love with Me at the Time - a seventeen year old slightly pimply & desperate Australian schoolgirl.
I'd done a similar thing with John Lennon when I was eleven, where I had an elaborate fantasy going about how tragic it was that John's wife Cynthia had died in a snow skiing accident, but then he met me on the slopes & fell in love.
Back to Paul & Me.
The Paul Newman film that really did my head in was the boxing biopic, 'Somebody Up There Likes Me', a redemption story of a nasty real life boxer called of course, Rocky, becoming this fantastically charming & wonderful person all because of the love of a Beautiful woman, played by Pier Angeli. The tag line to the film was 'A Girl Can Lift a Fellow to the Skies!'
You can imagine the fantasies that were going around in my head over that film. In fact, I think that it became the Blueprint for most of my subsequent relationships.
By the end of the year the 'Ritz' had gone through all of Paul's films & had moved on to Warren Beatty, who I had a short fling with, but it didn't work out.
I finished my exams, left school, got a holiday job in a cake shop & waited for a Real Boyfriend to arrive.