OTBnTV
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Date Registered: 31/07/2008
Loss of a Legend - Paul Newman, the Hustler
Date: September 28, 2008 05:27PM
In Memory of ...
Loss of a Legend - Paul Newman, the Hustler
By: Don "Cheese" Akerlow

This is an article I wrote that will appear in the October Issue of The Break.

Paul Newman died Friday September 26, 2008 at his farmhouse near Westport, Connecticut following a long battle with cancer at the age of 83.

For pool players Paul Newman is best remember for his role as the pool hustler "Fast Eddie Felson" in the movie "The Hustler". Alongside Jackie Gleason, Newman made infamous the life of a hustler, from seedy pool hall to seedy pool hall in the hopes of beating the legend himself, "Minnesota Fats" (Gleason). This movie had its debut in 1961 and brought pool playing to a new level of interest. The effect the movie had on the pool industry was astounding. Newman took on a role in a seemingly unconsequential sport and made everyone who played the game proud. This pride translated into a new interest in pool, the resurgence of pool halls and more and more Americans participating in the sport.

As an 18 year old, '10 foot tall and bullet proof', I found my way to my first pool hall in 1966 and all anybody could talk about was the movie, "The Hustler". "The Hustler" was playing across the street at the Bijou. It was a second feature, sort of like a re-run today. I sat in my seat in awe. This was what I wanted to be. The movie from its beginning became synonymous with the game.

In 1986, Newman reprised his role as "Fast Eddie" and starred in a movie with Tom Cruise called, "The Color of Money" for which he won an Oscar. In the movie, Paul Newman, demonstrated what many pool players thought of a cocky, brash, stick swinging, mouthy, pool player that is trying to prove who he is. Tom Cruise played this role to the hilt giving Newman a reason to almost hate and admire him in the same moment.

Was Cruise's character any different than many players today? Perhaps it was Mr Newman's character "Fast Eddie" that had mellowed, and knew who he was, comfortable in his own skin, that depict the pool players of today.

Paul Newman in "The Hustler" and "The Color of Money" was a hero to all pool players. He didn't make a successful movie about pool once, but twice. These two movies to this day mark the rebirth of a sport that had fallen into oblivion and revived an interest in the psyche of a pool player and the mystique surrounding our sport.

Paul Newman made a lot of great movies and I want to personally thank him for that. He was not only a humanitarian but he walked the walk. "The Hustler" was unequivocally the standard of the life of the pool player. We as pool players were fortunate to have a true movie star portray the life of a pool player that showed how you could be a gentleman at the table and play with honor. The pool community was very fortunate to have such a human being to represent the sport that we all love and adore each for our own reasons.

Pool players everywhere will remember Paul Newman with fondness and appreciation for his roles as "Fast Eddie". If you are new to the sport and haven't seen these movies, rent them, you won't regret it, they are classics!

gareth
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Posts: 414
Date Registered: 20/03/2007
Re: Loss of a Legend - Paul Newman, the Hustler
Date: September 28, 2008 06:04PM



gareth
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Posts: 414
Date Registered: 20/03/2007
Re: Loss of a Legend - Paul Newman, the Hustler
Date: September 28, 2008 06:39PM





Spoiler Alert below!!!!!!






gareth
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Posts: 414
Date Registered: 20/03/2007
Re: Loss of a Legend - Paul Newman, the Hustler
Date: September 28, 2008 06:41PM












Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 28/09/2008 06:45PM by gareth.



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