Newman/Levy vs. N.Y. Post

Author/critic/columnist Shawn Levy wrote today that one of the things he discovered while writing about Paul Newman for his book Paul Newman: A Life (Harmony, May 5) “was that he had a [nearly] 30-year feud with the New York Post.” Which has now come back around and bitten Levy’s book in the ass, albeit in a cheap and petty way.

The feud started “when Newman was filming Fort Apache: The Bronx> in New York. Newman came to feel that the Post had deliberately stirred up community animosity toward the film. A few years later, Newman and the Post were fighting about — of all things — how tall the actor was (the Post said he was no more than 5’7″, whereas Newman held he was 5′ 11″).

“During these battles, Newman was outspoken in his disgust with the paper: ‘I wish I could sue the Post,’ he told a rival publication, ‘but it’s awfully hard to sue a garbage can.’ And the Post gave as good as it got. For some years, Newman’s name could only appear in the pages of the tabloid in a negative light; this even extended to the TV listings, where Newman’s name was left out of descriptions of his films (The Hustler with Jackie Gleason and George C. Scott; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with Robert Redford and Katherine Ross, etc.).

“I found all this amusing and reckoned that the war of words would have died with Newman last fall, but I underestimated the pettiness and vindictiveness of Post publisher Rupert Murdoch and his “Page Six” hatchet man Richard Johnson. Over the weekend, the Post published a wildly sensational account of my book — representing it as a tale of multiple infidelities, non-stop drinking, profane outbursts and rivalries with other movie stars.

“All of those things are in there, yes, but to declare that the book — which is rather square and includes 22 pages of notes and bibliography — is about all those things is like saying that The Godfather is a movie about killing horses or Austin Powers is a film about Burt Bacharach.”

I read teh Post piece last weekend, immediately recognized the tawdry and salacious tone and decided not to write about it for fear of giving credence to any suspicion that Levy’s book, which has been carefully sourced and written in a brisk, clean style, might be some kind of icky Hollywood-star bio, which it absolutely isn’t. But as long as Levy’s run his piece, whatever.

Newman was 5’11″?

15 thoughts on “Newman/Levy vs. N.Y. Post

  1. Just imagine what the uproar is going to be like when Darwin Porter gets his book out. (July I believe). If it is anything like Brando Unzipped, Porter’s book on Newman is going to make Mr Levy’s seem like a Disney fairytale.

    I don’t think I have known of an actor so universally adored and personally mourned than Paul Newman.

  2. Which of course then calls into question every single news item the Post runs and what personal agenda is at work.

    Yet, those that take their talking points from it will never question who is giving them their marching orders and why. If party animals were chosen to better represent the constituents, the GOP’s would surely be an ostrich…

    (yes, I know – we can expect several witticisms about the Dems’ more apt symbol)

  3. “Stephen Hawking’s in the hospital again. :(

    As close as you’ve ever come to expressing any genuine human emotion on here. This is progress.

  4. “As close as you’ve ever come to expressing any genuine human emotion on here. This is progress.

    Yes, but apparently it comes at the cost of even longer thread hijackings so I’m not really sure if it’s worth it.

    One really marvels at how naked this cry for attention is for him as none of us want these info tips and continually tell him to knock it off. Yet, he persists.

    His inability to allow pretty much anything to pass without rebuttal (those long posts in which he offers his personal reply to each and every post above it) would be amusing if it didn’t happen with such regularity to be pretty much the single most annoying thing on here. Each month someone finally snaps and begins to post “Shut the fuck up,” to no avail.

    I take it the name changed because even Jeff finally got fed up with it, but even that wasn’t enough of a wake up call.

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