A Brief Biography of Paul Newman

By Phineas Upham

Paul Newman was a football player growing up, and was destined to head in that direction until he was kicked off the team in college. Born in January of 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio the directionless Newman finally settled on acting. By 1953 Newman had made his way to Broadway, the first major milestone in a long life of fame and philanthropy. Newman’s food company, Newman’s Own, based its entire business model around charity and Newman himself became a household name.

Newman finished college in 1949. His first gigs in acting were summer stock theaters in Wisconsin, where he met the omwan who would be his first wife. Jacqueline Witte married Newman not soon after meeting him and the two pursued acting vigorously until 1950. Newman’s father died that year, leaving behind the family business in Ohio. The Newmans moved there and conceived their first child. But Paul needed money and the pull of acting was too strong. So Newman went to New York to give his acting career another chance. He took it seriously, studying with the same group as Maron Brando and James Dean. Newman became a huge star, one of the only actors to make the transition from 1950s cinema to more modern acting in 1970s roles.

Paul Newman was also an accomplished racer, his first victory having occurred in Connecticut in 1972. He would go on to win the national Sports Car Club of America title in ’76, which would help him make the jump into the pro scene within a year.

Having built a food empire, dominated racing and performed in decades of cinema, Paul Newman succumbed to cancer on September 26, 2008.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn page.