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Clea Newman Soderlund & David Rosenthal, "The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man"

The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man

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Join us for a fascinating discussion about the life of Paul Newman with Paul's daughter Clea Newman and the book's editor, David Rosenthal. The discussion will be moderated by Pem McNerney.


Paul Newman memoirThe raw, candid, unvarnished memoir of an American icon. The greatest movie star of the past 75 years covers everything: his traumatic childhood, his career, his drinking, his thoughts on Marlon Brando, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, John Huston, his greatest roles, acting, his intimate life with Joanne Woodward, his innermost fears and passions and joys. With thoughts/comments throughout from Joanne Woodward, George Roy Hill, Tom Cruise, Elia Kazan, and many others.

In 1986, Paul Newman and his closest friend, screenwriter Stewart Stern, began an extraordinary project. Stewart was to compile an oral history, to have Newman’s family and friends and those who worked closely with him, talk about the actor’s life. And then Newman would work with Stewart and give his side of the story. The only stipulation was that anyone who spoke on the record had to be completely honest. That same stipulation applied to Newman himself. The project lasted five years.

The result is an extraordinary memoir, culled from thousands of pages of transcripts. The book is insightful, revealing, surprising. Newman’s voice is powerful, sometimes funny, sometimes painful, always meeting that high standard of searing honesty. The additional voices—from childhood friends and Navy buddies, from family members and film and theater collaborators such as Tom Cruise, George Roy Hill, Martin Ritt, and John Huston—that run throughout add richness and color and context to the story Newman is telling.

Newman’s often traumatic childhood is brilliantly detailed. He talks about his teenage insecurities, his early failures with women, his rise to stardom, his early rivals (Marlon Brando and James Dean), his first marriage, his drinking, his philanthropy, the death of his son Scott, his strong desire for his daughters to know and understand the truth about their father. Perhaps the most moving material in the book centers around his relationship with Joanne Woodward—their love for each other, his dependence on her, the way she shaped him intellectually, emotionally and sexually.

The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man is revelatory and introspective, personal and analytical, loving and tender in some places, always complex and profound.

PAUL NEWMAN was an actor, film director, race car driver, and entrepreneur. A ten-time Oscar nominee, Newman won an Academy Award for Best Actor for The Color of Money. He was also the recipient of numerous other awards, including a BAFTA Award, three Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, the Cecil B. de Mille Award, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. His films include The Hustler, Hud, Harper, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, The Verdict, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, Nobody’s Fool, Road to Perdition, and Disney-Pixar’s Cars, where he was the voice of Doc Hudson. As a race car driver, Newman won several national championships; he is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest winner of a professionally sanctioned race at 70 years old, finishing first in his class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona Beach. As a political activist and humanitarian, he raised and donated nearly $1 billion to many charities. Newman had six children and was married to Oscar-winning actress Joanne Woodward for fifty years. He died in 2008 at the age of eighty-three.

Clea NewmanAs the youngest daughter of the legendary acting couple Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Clea Newman’s parents not only encouraged her to find her passion in life and pursue it with fervor, they also taught her the importance and power of giving back. Those two lessons merged for Clea when she discovered her passion in life was philanthropy and working to advance the causes and organizations she cared about. Always supportive of the SeriousFun mission, Clea started her philanthropic endeavors by working on the Development team at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp (the first SeriousFun Camp). Previously, Clea served on SeriousFun’s Board of Directors where she was the chair of the Development Committee. Clea holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. She resides in Fairfield, CT with her husband Kurt Soderlund. A serious horseback rider since the age of six, Clea is still an avid rider and enjoys a variety of fitness activities including hiking, yoga and running.

Daivd RosenthalDavid Rosenthal has worked in journalism and the book industry for over 40 years. He was a reporter for the (pre-Murdoch) New York Post, executive editor of New York magazine and managing editor of Rolling Stone. At Random House, he was an executive editor and later headed the company’s Villard imprint. In 1998, Rosenthal became the executive vice-president and publisher of Simon & Schuster’s flagship imprint for a dozen years, and in 2011, founded and became president of Penguin’s Blue Rider Press. Amongst the numerous books he has edited and published are Nicholson Baker’s Vox, The End of Nature by Bill McKibben, Richard Ben Cramer’s What It Takes, Robert Harris’ Fatherland, Bob Dylan’s Chronicles Volume 1, Hunter S. Thompson’s Better Than Sex, Neil Young’s Waging Heavy Peace, Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, Mark Leibovich’s This Town and Richard Russo’s Nobody’s Fool. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Event Date: 
Monday, December 5, 2022 - 7:00pm EST
Event address: 
RJ Julia Booksellers
768 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443
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The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man: A Memoir By Paul Newman, David Rosenthal (Editor), Melissa Newman (Foreword by), Clea Newman Soderlund (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Paul Newman, David Rosenthal (Editor), Melissa Newman (Foreword by), Clea Newman Soderlund (Afterword by)
$32.00
ISBN: 9780593534502
Availability: On Our Shelves; Typically Ships in 1-2 Days
Published: Knopf - October 18th, 2022

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