He ate 50 hard boiled eggs while in prison, concocted one of greatest scams on a high ranking mob boss, and was the recipient of my father's favorite line in a movie, "You just keep thinkin' Butch, that's what you're good at."
These are my fondest memories of Paul Newman, the movie icon who died last week of cancer. My dad introduced me to Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (our favorite Western) and The Sting, all of which are some of Newman's greatest roles. For those of you who don't know, my father is a walking encyclopedia of movie knowledge and trivia. He can turn the television to TCM or AMC and tell you the name of the movie, the actors, the director, the year it was made, the company that produced it, and probably how much it grossed at the box office! It's actually pretty funny watching him do that, but he'll tell you that it helps to have an actual movie encyclopedia next to his living room chair!
While dad's pretty well versed on Paul Newman movie trivia, what me might not be able to tell you is that Newman really wanted to be remembered for his philanthropic legacy. He donates 100% of the profits from his food company "Newman's Own" to building camps all across the world for children with life-threatening illnesses, like AIDS and Leukemia. Although this company started off as a joke, it has evolved into a multi-million dollar business that has given over $250 million to charities, including $28 million to Safe Water Network (which Newman started) that provides safe drinking water to impoverished communities in places like India and Africa.
One thing "Butch" made clear before his passing was that after he is gone, his company would continue the practice of giving all its money away to his "Hole in the Wall" camps. For those of you not familiar with Hole in the Wall, you might wanna pick up a copy of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid the next time you're at the movie store. It's sure to become one of your favorites; but, don't forget that behind those piercing blue eyes and million-dollar smile was a philanthropic heart of gold.