As a six-part documentary series that explores more than just the love story between Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, HBO Max’s “The Last Movie Stars” is unlike any other. That’s because it even gives us insight into their past as well as individual experiences to basically shine a light on how they’ve affected the entire industry by just being themselves. So the ‘Cool Hand Luke’ actor’s relationship with alcohol ends up being a big part of this production – so now, if you’re interested in learning more about the same, we’ve got the details for you.
Was Paul Newman an alcoholic?
While the terms alcoholic and alcoholism were carefully avoided for decades when it came to entertainment entertainer Paul Newman, his own daughters didn’t shy away from them. In fact, they candidly described Paul as a “high-functioning alcoholic” in the original docuseries before pointing out that his tendencies were creating a destructive environment within their mixed household. They said their dad got drunk most nights while they were little, only to dip his head in freezing water the next morning to ensure a good, productive day ahead.
There was even a time when Paul’s heavy drinking would have caused his wife, Joanne, to pack up and bring their kids, but they managed to work things out once he promised to give up for good. hard liquor, depending on the show. Joanne’s last straw would have been to find Paul a little injured on the ground, which led to his ultimatum, his commitment and their joint compromises to ensure stability not only for them but also for their offspring. We have to mention that apart from “The Last Movie Stars”, the actor’s raw and unvarnished biography of Shawn Levy in 2009 also focuses on Paul’s drinking.
Paul wore a bottle opener on a chain around his neck at one point, according to ‘Paul Newman: A Life,’ which he used to store “beer after beer after beer, a case or more a day”. He then allegedly switched to drinks like scotch that same night, a process the book alleges Paul repeated constantly for years and gradually became rather well-known in all areas of his life. Filmgoers/staff apparently told the author that the ‘Hud’ superstar was often seen “drinking beers on set, in his office, at parties, during interviews, watching TV, getting ready for television and relaxing after dinner”.
However, over time after the death of his son Scott from a drug overdose in 1978, Paul began advocating against drug addiction in all its forms. He has even urged Princeton University in 2004 to end a tradition of binge drinking on campus named after him to spread a more positive message – Newman’s Day brings together attendees trying to consume one beer an hour for 24 hours.
Although Paul’s creative and philanthropic legacy continues to this day through his daughters, the sad reality is that he passed away from lung cancer on September 26, 2008. We should mention that Paul had publicly admitted to the once having a taste for booze and essentially giving up everything but beer mid-career decades before (with a short relapse after the death of his son).
Read more: Have Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward ever split?