93 Things About Paul Newman You Never Knew ( ... and some you may have! )

On January 26th 2018, Paul Newman would have turned 93. In honor of his 93rd, we’ve put together 93 facts about Paul – the actor, philanthropist, founder of SeriousFun, and so much more! We hope these tidbits about Paul’s life bring as a big smile to your face as they do ours. Happy birthday, Paul!

1. Paul Leonard Newman was born to Theresa and Arthur Sigmund Newman in Shaker Heights, Ohio in 1925. This year, we celebrate what would have been his 93rd birthday.

2. Paul was interested in theater from a young age though, performing his first role at the glorious age of seven-the court jester in an elementary school production of Robin Hood.

3. Paul was so embarrassed by his first film debut in The Silver Chalice (1954) that when the movie was scheduled to air on TV, he took out ads in Hollywood newspapers asking people NOT to watch it.

4. Paul first gave salad dressing away to friends as holiday gifts, filling wine bottles with his homemade mix. People loved it so much they came back looking for more! And that's how Newman's Own (the "100% of profits to charity" company) was born.

5. Newman's Own's first office was a small, rented space in Westport, furnished with Paul and Joanne's pool furniture and Ping-Pong table (doubling as a conference table). Talk about being resourceful.

6. Paul's favorite, most trusty business plan was having none at all: "If we ever have a plan, we're screwed!"

7. Paul Newman holds the sixth-most Academy Award nominations of all time across four categories (nine in total).

8. Paul was a decorated Navy veteran. He enrolled in the Navy's V-12 program shortly after high school, only to find he was colorblind and his hopes of becoming a pilot were dashed. That didn't stop him from serving during WWII.

9. Paul's military honors include the American Area Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Combat Aircrew Wings, and the World War II Victory Medal.

10. Paul Newman attended Ohio University before leaving to enroll in the Navy. While there, he was initiated into Phi Kappa Tau - a nationwide fraternity that holds SeriousFun as its national philanthropy, building on his own commitment to giving back.

11. Paul graduated from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio in 1949 with a Bachelor of Arts in drama and economics.

12. Decades after graduating from Kenyon College, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward directed a Community Theatre play at Kenyon whose cast included now famous, award-winning actress (and 2018 Oscar nominee) Allison Janney.

13. After attending Kenyon College, Paul went on to the Yale School of Drama.

14. In addition to his formal schooling, Paul later studied at the Actors Studio in New York City under famed method acting teacher Lee Strasberg.

15. When others said Paul couldn't build a glorious, state-of-the-art camp for kids with serious medical conditions in just one year, he saw the need and wouldn't take no for an answer. Happily, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp opened its gates to its first campers in June of 1988.

16. Paul's original dream - a camp where kids with serious illnesses could go "to raise a little hell" - has since become a global movement, now totaling 30 camps and programs around the world.

17. The first thing Paul did when he was feeling down? Go to camp! He said, "It reaffirms everything that I think is really good and generous about this world."

18. Newman's Own Virgin Lemonade was born of a secret family recipe, treasured for over seven generations, and provided by Paul's wife, Oscar-winning actress, activist, and environmentalist Joanne Woodward. As with all Newman's Own products, 100% of profits go to charity!

19. They say cats have nine lives, but Paul Newman had nine (simultaneous) careers: he was part actor, film director, producer, race car driver, IndyCar owner, entrepreneur, philanthropist, cook, and activist.

20. Though Paul had a successful racing career, he didn't get behind the wheel until his forties, shocking many and competing in his first professional race at age of 47 in 1972.

21. Paul Newman never came away from a racing accident with more than sore ribs and bruised knees - never once breaking a bone, landing in a hospital, or suffering a concussion - though several of his crashes appeared far worse. (Although, after one terrifying accident where Paul remained unscathed, someone closed his hand in the car door, breaking his fingers!)

22. A true visionary dedicated to turning ideas into action, Paul founded or co-founded more than six nonprofit organizations in his lifetime, and that doesn't even come close to the number of those he inspired.

23. Together, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward founded the nonprofit, The Discovery Center, "a classroom without walls for a future without prejudice."

24. After receiving a letter from a passionate Charles R. Wood, Paul met with Charley to discuss the possibility of a second camp for kids with serious illnesses in New York State. Today, Double H Ranch sits on Lake Luzerne and has since celebrated its 25th anniversary (2017).

25. Despite his busy career, Paul almost never missed a major horse show when his daughter, Clea, was competing. She states that she got her passion for fast cars and horses from her father.

26. One of Paul's philosophies on life was this: "We are such spendthrifts with our lives. The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I'm not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out."

27. When given a generous gift from the Irish government, Paul and several like-minded people and donors were determined to make a camp a reality for kids and families in Ireland. Barretstown opened its beautiful doors (they're red and on a castle!) to campers in Kildare in 1994.

28. Clea Newman always refers to her father, Paul, not as "Dad" but as "Pop".

29. One of Paul's all-time favorite snacks was popcorn - which explains why he sampled red, black, and hybrid varieties of kernels from countless states across the U.S. before deciding on one for Newman's Own.

30. Paul was named the second-ever "Man of the Year" in 1968 by the Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770, Harvard University's premiere performing arts organization.

31. The star of Wolverine and X-Men, Hugh Jackman, was inspired by Paul's business model-selling a product and donating all of the profits to charity - so he founded the Laughing Man Foundation to do just that.

32. After spending several summers volunteering at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, the SeriousFun camp in Connecticut, actor Ryan Devlin felt encouraged to pursue philanthropic initiatives of his own and developed This Bar Saves Lives.

33. Ever heard of "Paul's Chair?" It's common knowledge at North Star Reach in Michigan! Wanting to honor Paul, they set out to ensure he always had a place at their table. Located in the main dining hall, the chair travels from table to table during each camp session-right alongside the campers themselves.

34. After traveling throughout Africa, Paul saw the needs of kids who'd been marginalized by their medical conditions and their community's response. Realizing the model of camp would need to adapt to embrace each local country and culture, he dreamt of bringing camp to life throughout Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Since then, SeriousFun's Global Partnership Program has made life-changing experiences possible for more children near and far!

35. Paul Newman and Carl Haas teamed up to form Newman/Haas Racing, an auto racing team that team that competed in CART series and IndyCar series from 1983 to 2011.

36. Paul entered his first professional car racing event under the name "P.L.Newman" - which he continued to be known as throughout his racing career.

37. Throughout the life of Newman/Haas racing team, star drivers like Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Sébastien Boudais, Christian Fittipaldi, and Graham Rahal joined the team's ranks.

38. Flying to, from, or through Indianapolis? You can find a Newman/Haas racecar on display at the Indianapolis International Airport.

39. At camp, Paul was known to leave any trace of his celebrity persona behind. At an event at Camp Boggy Creek, the SeriousFun camp in Florida, he was sitting on a cooler eating popcorn when the bag fell over and spilt onto the stage. Before a soul could jump up to help him, Paul was on it - picking up the mess and popping it into his mouth!

40. In 1994, Paul Newman received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his philanthropic and charitable initiatives.

41. In honor of Paul Newman's philanthropic pursuits, Newman's Own Foundation has created a new word to describe people like Paul - those who give back just because it's the right thing to do can pledge to be Newmanitarians (and tag good deeds on social media - #Newmanitarian).

42. Inspired by Paul Newman's business plan - "giving it all away" - Edward Norton set out to follow suit. In 2010, he founded CrowdRise, now a leading online fundraising platform for nonprofits, companies, and events.

43. One day when actor Kevin Bacon opened his fridge, he saw Paul Newman - "staring back at me from a jar of tomato sauce" - and decided to create SixDegrees.org to leverage a pop culture phenomenon for fundraising of charitable causes.

44. Paul once commissioned a Volvo 960 with a racing V8 engine. But he didn't just commission one. He commissioned two! The second was for his racing partner (and talk show host), David Letterman.

45. At the age of 70 years (and eight days), Paul became the oldest driver to date to become part of a winning team at a major sanctioned race, placing first in his class at the 1995 "24 Hours of Daytona."

46. The marriage between Paul and Joanne was such a supportive one. Even though the thought of Paul getting on the race track terrified her, she went to see him race all the time; Paul, too, attended the Ballets and Operas Joanne loved, and eventually came to appreciate them, and especially the music.

47. Paul began his undergraduate years at Kenyon College as an aspiring football player, and (thankfully!) graduated an aspiring actor.

48. In addition to Paul's more famous films, such as The Verdict, The Sting, Cool Hand Luke, The Hud, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, The Long, Hot Summer, and The Color of Money he starred in many others, including A New Kind of Love, and Mr. and Mrs. Bridge.

49. Robert Redford almost didn't play the "Sundance Kid" to Paul's "Butch Cassidy" because the studio wanted a star (and Redford wasn't yet well-known). But Paul wanted an actor suited for the part.

50. On top of the many awards Paul won for specific roles, he received an honorary Academy Award in 1986 for his "many and memorable compelling screen performances."

51. Paul Newman and wife Joanne Woodward were heavily involved in their community of Westport, Connecticut - helping to preserve local land and save the Westport Country Playhouse from a "state of disrepair," among many other pursuits.

52. A recent episode of the ABC show American Housewife, which takes place in Westport, Connecticut, included selling Paul Newman's and Joanne Woodward's Adirondack chairs as a storyline!

53. During the nine plus years that Newman's Own sponsored an annual recipe contest with Good Housekeeping, requiring entrants to use a Newman's Own product in their submissions, Paul would invite the finalists to a luncheon to try the winning recipes himself! The first five winners were offered between $10,000 and $50,000 in a donation to a charity of their choice.

54. One of Paul's favorite annual performances - a role very close to his heart - was his acting in The Hole in The Wall Gang Camp's September gala alongside campers themselves.

55. With the support of Paul and camp staff, Henri Tezenas du Montcel worked with a group of people to bring camp to France. L'Envol (meaning "Take Off) began serving children and families in 1997.

56. Reflecting on his friendship with Paul, Robert Redford shared, "So I couldn't say enough good things about Paul, except that he had a terrible sense of humor. And the worst of it was that he would laugh at his bad jokes. And then he'd tell a joke at 11 o'clock in the morning and 2'o'clock he'd tell the joke all over again-and laugh just as hard. But that was the charming thing about Paul."

57. "Cocktail attire with a touch of blue" has long been SeriousFun's annual New York Gala dress code because Paul was not a fan of wearing tuxedos.

58. Paul Newman disliked tuxedos so much so that he's known to have turned down a few black-tie events by explaining that his tuxedo had passed on (indeed, he had burned it).

59. From that point forward, Paul's only dress-up outfit was a navy blue blazer and black knit tie. After all, he'd felt he'd worn his fair share of black-tie attire.

60. What sold out so quickly after its launch? The 2015 U.S. Postal Service Forever Stamp honoring Paul Newman, featuring his face and his iconic baby blues.

61. When describing camp, Paul would explain, "There really is no such thing as a sick child; there are children who happen to be sick. Think about it, and you will understand the magic of the Camps."

62. When Joe Woods first heard about the Hole in the Wall camps, he thought the idea was so brilliant he reached out to Paul to get involved. After helping send kids from Europe to camp for several years, he brought camp to life in the United Kingdom with Over The Wall in 1999.

63. Since volunteering at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Page Adler had long dreamt of bringing Paul's vision to the West Coast. When Paul happened to rent a beach house two doors down from Page and her husband Lou Adler, they knew it was their chance to talk with him about camp. Happily, their dream became a reality when The Painted Turtle opened its doors to its first campers in 2004 in Lake Hughes, California.

64. Among Paul's friends, he was known for his "signature hamburgers". His secret? Twenty-five percent fat, only one flip, and salt after the burger is grilled.

65. When describing camp, Paul had said, "From that day back in the summer of 1988, I knew then that the camps would be a statement of people's generosity."

66. For Dr. Seishichi Yokoyama, Dr. Ryota Hosoya, Mamoru Matsumoto, Fusayo Asano, witnessing camp for pediatric patients with serious illnesses in action was a game changer-one that inspired them to pursue the idea back home in Japan. Several of them visited two of Paul's camps before working to realize their dream in the nature-rich city of Takikawa in Hokkaido. SeriousFun's global community of camps and programs welcomed Solaputi Kids' Camp to the Network family in 2016!

67. One of Pauls' favorite hobbies? Spending the afternoon fishing at camp with the kids (although they say he was never the luckiest fisherman).

68. In the early stages of development of Flying Horse Farms, the SeriousFun camp in Ohio, Paul came out to tour the farm himself. Founders David and Jenni Bedford recall: "He couldn't have been more humble, genuine, and grateful that we wanted to build a camp for kids with serious illnesses and join his family of camps." Best of all, it was going to be in Paul's home state.

69. When Murray and Marilyn Grant picked up a brochure for one of Paul's camps they were immediately drawn to its mission. Helping kids cope with serious illness was a need they'd seen firsthand in Israel. Hoping to extend Paul's vision to the Middle East and create a positive force of cooperation that would serve kids on both sides of the river, they set out to bring Jordan River Village to life.

70. Among family and close friends, Paul had the nickname "The Old Fox" - even sporting a needlepoint belt with his initials and two fox heads made by his daughter Clea, more often than not.

71. In 1999, Paul Newman and other business leaders joined forces to found CECP, a CEO-led coalition that empowers corporations to be a force for good and strives to raise the quality of corporate philanthropy.

72. In 2006, Paul was at it again - this time with another cause he cared deeply about. He co-founded Safe Water Network with prominent civic and business leaders to empower communities around the world to thrive with their own sustainable supply of safe water.

73. When 17 year-old Adam Petty visited one of Paul's camps with his dad in Florida, he knew it was his calling to bring a similar camp to the hills of North Carolina where he grew up. After Adam tragically lost his life in a racing accident, the Petty family gathered their strength, their friends, and the NASCAR community to open Victory Junction in Randleman in Adam's memory. The SeriousFun camp in North Carolina has brought joy to thousands of kids since it opened in 2004.

74. When Péter Küllöi was contacted by a group of Hungarian health professionals who'd visited one of Paul's camps, he was truly inspired and instantly struck by the idea: "I really believed the focus should be on the soul because it is very important and something a hospital cannot do. When I heard about the camps, I fell in love." Péter and fellow founders opened Bátor Tábor for its first camp session in 2001.

75. It was in 1953 that Paul made his Broadway theater debut in the original production of William Inge's Picnic - which just so happened to be how he met Joanne, who was cast as an understudy alongside Paul. Just four years later they would star in their first film together, The Long, Hot Summer (1957), and marry shortly after in 1958.

76. Following his self-proclaimed "embarrassing" film debut in The Silver Chalice (1954), Paul garnered much (more positive!) attention for his role as Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956).

77. Paul met Enzo Manes in 2005 and 2006 in Italy after Enzo was so moved by the story of a child who was a bone cancer survivor and counselor at one of the camps. Together, they were committed to opening a camp in Italy: "Paul was really a role model for me. His visit was a fundamental milestone in the development of Dynamo Camp," which opened its door to children and families in 2007.

78. Tim Rose first learned about camp during a business meeting, and with a son who had been going through cancer treatments for over a year Paul's vision struck close to home. One year later, after his son Korey sadly lost his battle to cancer, Tim set out to bring one of these special camps to Washington State - creating Camp Korey to honor Korey's memory and create a safe haven for other families dealing with childhood illness.

79. Since Paul first started "pursuing the common good" by selling his salad dressing 35 years ago, he and Newman's Own Foundation have given more than $500 million in donations to charities around the world.

80. Paul got his first Academy Award nomination (in a lifetime of what would be many) after starring in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) opposite Elizabeth Taylor.

81. Paul made his last in-person movie appearance as a conflicted mob boss in Road to Perdition opposite Tom Hanks in 2002, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.

82. Do you know the Cars, Cars 2, and Cars 3 character Doc Hudson? That was Paul's voice!

83. Paul was posthumously inducted into the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame at the national convention in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2009.

84. After Alison Knapp was introduced to camp by her friend and long-time SeriousFun supporter, David Horvitz, she dreamt of bringing camp back home to Colorado. And she did! Roundup River Ranch held it first camp session in July of 2011 - bringing Paul's vision to life in the Rocky Mountain region.

85. On his own accord, Paul once spent weeks hanging out with local L.A. boxers to pick up lingo and mannerisms for a more authentic role as a prizefighter in The Battler. He would use this tactic throughout his life, whenever he was struggling to get into a part.

86. Once known as The Association of Hole in The Wall Camps, SeriousFun Children's Network was given its current name in 2012, paying homage to founder Paul Newman taking the work of camps seriously so kids could have fun.

87. Paul directed five feature films starring his wife, and the award-winning actress, Joanne Woodward, including Harry & Son, Rachel, Rachel, and the screen versions of The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The Shadow Box, and The Glass Menagerie.

88. Paul Newman was a father to six children, including Clea, who carries on her father's mission, vision, and legacy as the Ambassador for SeriousFun.

89. The number on Paul's racecar increased each year to reflect his age. People were amazed when Paul was driving car No. 75, but were even more taken aback when he was winning races in car No. 80.

90. Against all business norms, Paul never felt comfortable with self-promotion. He finally agreed to put his face on the label of Newman's Own products only after he decided all profits would go to charity!

91. According to his daughter Clea, Paul's greatest quality was that he was such an incredible listener - which always made him her go-to person for thoughtful advice.

92. Paul often said he wanted his legacy to be the camps: "I wanted, I think, to acknowledge luck; the chance of it, the benevolence of it in my life, and the brutality of it in the lives of others, made especially savage for children because they may not be allowed the good fortune of a lifetime to correct it."

93. Since Paul Newman's vision of camp first came to life in 1988, SeriousFun camps and programs have delivered more than 864,000 life-changing camp experiences to children and their family members around the world, totally free of charge!

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