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Clea Newman heads to Boston to talk about dad Paul


Clea Newman, at 57 the youngest of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s three children, will be at the Coolidge Corner Theatre Sunday in connection with her late father’s bestselling autobiography, “The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man: A Memoir” (Knopf).

Newman, who pens the memoir’s Afterword, will do a Q&A following a screening of her dad’s 1962 classic “The Hustler.” The pool hall drama won the actor the second of 10 eventual Oscar nominations.  He won his Best Actor Oscar for the “Hustler” sequel, “The Color of Money.”

“It’s funny,” Newman said earlier this week in a phone interview. “This was the theater’s choice in which film to be shown and it’s actually one of my favorites”

Also among her favorites: “Definitely up there in like the Top 5 I would say ‘The Verdict,’ ‘Nobody’s Fool.’ I love ‘Mr. And Mrs. Bridge’ — to see my parents when they were older. And ‘The Sting’ in fact was one of the few films that I could watch right after my father passed away. I really couldn’t watch any other films; they just made me upset.  But for some reason I could watch ‘The Sting’ and no idea why.”

Paul Newman died of lung cancer at 83, in September 2008. It’s unusual, to say the least, that his memoir is appearing now.  It was begun in the late ‘60s when the actor interviewed many friends and colleagues for an autobiography, only to stop when he changed his mind and destroyed all the filmed interviews.

Only there were transcripts of those interviews, which the daughters discovered in their widowed mother’s home.  “All the interviews are actually in the laundry room. And then we found my father’s transcripts in my mother’s storage unit.

“We had all been interviewed years ago, between ’86 and ’91, along with all his friends, family, etc. But nobody really knew where the transcripts were.  And it wasn’t until we found them that we thought about actually doing a memoir.”

As to whether this is what her dad would have wanted, since it wasn’t published during his lifetime, Clea says yes. “Because actually, in the transcripts, he says, ‘This is for my children’ and, how did he put it?  He said something like he wanted to dispel all the rumors and kind of fantasy about his life.

“And actually even in his will it stated, if there was any interest in doing a memoir he would be fine with that. I’m just not sure he wanted all of this out there while he was alive.”

Clea Newman will be at the Coolidge Corner Theatre Sunday for a Q&A following the 2 p.m. screening of “The Hustler.”  



Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman in a scene from "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge," which daughter Clea counts among her favorites. (Photo Miramax)
Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman in a scene from “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge,” which daughter Clea counts among her favorites. (Photo Miramax)


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