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Remembering Paul Newman's Best Roles For His Birthday

Here's something I bet you didn't know about Paul Newman: he won a few national championships as a race car driver during the 70s.

While the role of a secret, world class race car driver fit Newman's image as a Hollywood leading man, he had a third secret role you also might not have known about.

Newman was one of the most generous men in Hollywood, donating more than $400 million to charity through his food company Newman's Own. He also ran summer camps for disadvantaged children all over the world, and opened up a drug rehab center.

Newman's hidden talents and passions and may not have been as well known as his big roles, but they show what a unique star he was, with a larger than life presence on-screen and off-screen.

From a young age, Newman had a passion for acting. He acted in school plays and the local community theater, but when World War 2 broke out, Newman joined the Navy and fought in the Pacific.

After the war ended, he worked as a touring actor before moving to New York and beginning his career on Broadway. A number of big roles on stage and even some TV parts rolled in, but Newman's first film role was in a Bible movie called The Silver Chalice.

The movie was a bomb, and years later he would admit that even he disliked it, but his foot was in the door and decades of success would follow.

Newman in the Navy.

One of Newman's first big hits was The Hustler, which starred him as the pool ace "Fast Eddie." Newman was nominated for an Oscar for the role but lost. More than 25 years later, Newman played "Fast Eddie" again in the movie's sequel The Color Of Money. He was nominated again, and the second time around he took home the Oscar.

Incredibly, in Newman's 45 year career we was nominated for acting Oscars 10 times, and only won once.

Tom Cruise and Paul Newman in The Color of Money.

Later on in the 60s, Newman had two big hits with Cool Hand Luke, about life in a Florida prison, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the classic buddy-comedy Western.

Cool Hand Luke's most iconic scene saw Newman's character eating 50 hard boiled eggs in just an hour. That's six pounds of eggs. So did Newman actually eat any?

Nope. The actor famously said in an interview "I don't think I even swallowed one. That's the miracle of editing." For the record, it is possible. Speed eater Joey Chestnut gobbled down 141 eggs in just 8 minutes.

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Even as he got older, Newman kept himself busy. Newman played some of his most beloved roles, like the alcoholic lawyer from The Verdict,  when he was in his 50s. He was 77 when he played an aging mob boss in Road to Perdition.

He even stayed competitive as a race car driver late in his life. In 1995, he set a record for being to oldest driver on a winning team, racing in the 24 Hours Of Daytona at age 70s. He famously said he would only quit racing "when I embarass myself," and stayed in the sport into his 80s.

So it was fitting that Newman's last movie role was in Cars, where he was the voice of the vintage race car Doc Hudson.

Which of Paul Newman's iconic roles was your favorite? Share this post and let us know!

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