Paul Newman is dead at 83.
The role I think I loved him in most was as Sully Sullivan in Nobody’s Fool. It was a role that almost anyone else would have screwed up by playing it broadly, making the film little more than an ABC Afterschool Special.
The cult of celebrity creates such a noise around the real people who compose its base, but Newman was one of the few men who somehow managed to shine clear through all of that while not projecting some equally phony or grandiose idea of himself as anti-celebrity. When I think about my ideal image of American masculinity, Newman is one of the people I think of: full of wily humility, smart about himself and the world around him, confident but modest, at ease but canny enough not to make too much out of that. Class act.