AP Photo
Actor Paul Newman and actress Joanne
pose after their wedding
ceremony on January 29, 1958.

One of Newman’s Most Memorable Roles: A Husband

September 29, 2008 07:30 AM
by Emily Coakley
With Paul Newman’s death comes the end of one of Hollywood’s longest marriages.

Member of a Small Group

Paul Newman was an unusual personality for many reasons, but he belonged to a small group of celebrities who have been together for more than 40 years. Newman, who died Friday, was married to actress Joanne Woodward for 50 years. The couple married in Las Vegas on Jan. 29, 1958, according to the New York Daily News.

In AARP The Magazine, Newman credits the long marriage to “great impatience tempered by patience. When you have been together this long, sometimes you drive each other nuts, but underneath that is some core of affection and respect.” 

That’s not to say the 50 years were perfect. Vanity Fair reports that a 1988 biography, “Paul and Joanne,” quoted Newman as saying, “I’m all in favor of a good screaming free-for-all every two or three months. It clears the air, gets rid of old grievances and generally makes for a pleasant relationship. Joanne has a habit of rationalizing, and when she starts that, that’s when I turn ugly! But when she tells me what she instinctively feels, I pay very close attention.”

Other members of that small group include Bill and Camille Cosby, who were married in 1964; Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks, who were married for 41 years when Bancroft died in 2005; and Charlton Heston, who was married to his wife Lydia for 64 years when he died earlier this year. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been together since 1968, though they aren’t married.

Opinion & Analysis: “A good, solid marriage”

Kristen Houghton at the site, said, “Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward had as perfect a relationship as any one of us imperfect beings could hope to have.” She said their marriage worked “because they cared enough to make it work.”

Newman was once asked by Playboy magazine whether there was any temptation to cheat on Woodward. He is said to have replied, “I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?” Houghton found Newman’s well-publicized quote about Woodward “as romantic a statement as any I have ever read.”

A blogger known as Stacy said it was Newman’s marriage that impressed her most about him. “To be such a good-looking, successful actor and to stay married to his wife in such an ego-boosting, anything goes industry is remarkable. I don't know, maybe it's the romance novel reader in me, but maintaining such a lasting relationship totally earns my respect.”

Reference: Marriage


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