A documentary on Paul Newman reveals the truth about his fidelity to his wife writes TOM LEONARD

Paul Newman’s ingesting was so dangerous that his long-suffering spouse Joanne Woodward as soon as discovered him mendacity insensible on the ground, his head bleeding after falling away from bed.

She got here near leaving him that evening. ‘It was one among many, many scenes,’ she stated.

When she did lastly snap, bundling their three younger daughters right into a automotive and driving to their Malibu seashore residence, Newman got here in scorching pursuit, banging on the door and shouting to be let in. She refused and Newman, the blue-eyed actor lusted after by girls worldwide, spent a number of nights sleeping in his automotive on the drive till they reached a compromise.

He could not surrender the booze fully, he stated, however he would stick with beer somewhat than whisky and the half dozen martinis he was downing each evening.

Given this was a person who would drink a six-pack of beer at breakfast, it wasn’t a lot of a concession. But, as a brand new TV sequence reveals, the episode affords an intriguing perception into how the 50-year partnership of ‘Hollywood’s golden couple’ — lengthy thought to be blissfully blissful and secure — was very totally different in actuality.

Newman was one of many greatest pin-ups in cinema historical past and his success in holding down what was, by Tinsel Town’s requirements, an epically lengthy relationship with the identical girl was a trigger for limitless congratulation on TV chat exhibits and interviews. The Newmans would simply smile modestly and take in the applause because the ‘It’ couple of the period, a pair who made 16 movies collectively and who gave the impression to be every thing the remainder of their trade wasn’t — grown-up, devoted and regular.

Golden couple: But all was not what it appeared for Newman and Woodward, pictured here in 1965

Golden couple: But all was not what it appeared for Newman and Woodward, pictured right here in 1965

As director Otto Preminger acidly noticed: ‘Paul is an oddity on this enterprise. He actually loves his spouse.’ When Playboy journal requested him about his repute for constancy, Newman famously replied: ‘Why exit for a hamburger when you’ve gotten steak at residence?’

In truth, Woodward loathed that laddish comment — it made her really feel ‘like a chunk of meat’, she stated — simply as she loathed different points of being married to Newman, together with his alcoholism, and the truth that she had to surrender her appearing desires to deliver up their kids whereas he, arguably a lesser actor, turned a celebrity.

She hated his philandering, too — certainly there was no less than one hamburger. This loving however deeply sophisticated relationship, to not point out the restlessly sad persona that lay beneath Newman’s on-screen allure, is detailed in a six-part documentary made by Ethan Hawke. The actor, who made his identify within the Dead Poet’s Society, was requested by Newman and Woodward’s kids to make The Last Movie Stars (on HBO within the U.S. and coming to the UK quickly) as a result of they felt there wanted to be an account of the pair’s usually fraught life collectively.

Hawke, who went to highschool with a few of their kids, was helped enormously not solely by their very frank contributions however by greater than 100 taped interviews Newman had carried out with everybody in his life — not solely him and Woodward, however everybody from co-stars and administrators to nannies — for a memoir. Newman stopped the interviews in 1991 and 7 years later threw all of the tapes on a fireplace at his native dump.

Unknown to the actor, nevertheless, that they had already been transcribed. On the power of Hawke’s transferring and infrequently shockingly candid movie, it isn’t stunning that the notoriously personal and bottled-up Newman acquired chilly ft a couple of memoir that might comprise some very unvarnished opinions.

Temptation: Journalist Nancy Bacon, who had an 18-month affair with Newman

Temptation: Journalist Nancy Bacon, who had an 18-month affair with Newman

The revelations actually puncture his picture as the proper husband and father — though his repute as one among Hollywood’s Mr Nice Guys survives battered however intact.

A flawed however essentially first rate man who devoted his later years to philanthropy after his solely son, Scott, died from a drug overdose, Newman was nothing just like the swaggering, self-confident macho determine — completely irresistible to girls — he performed in movies resembling The Hustler, Hud, and Cool Hand Luke. Deeply insecure, he suffered from a crippling lack of religion in his appearing capability, was non-plussed about his intercourse enchantment and riven by guilt over his desertion of his first household for Woodward.

They met in New York on an oppressively scorching August day in 1952. She was an aspiring 22-year-old actress searching for work when she stopped by her agent’s workplace largely as a result of it had air-conditioning.

There, she bumped into one other jobbing thespian, whose piercing blue eyes, Greek god-like appears to be like and pristine look in a seersucker go well with initially left her chilly. She stated Newman, who was 5 years older and had served within the U.S. Navy in World War II, regarded like ‘an advert for ice cream soda’, including: ‘I believed, ‘Yuck, that is disgusting’.’

But months later they labored collectively as understudies in a Broadway play referred to as Picnic and fell for one another. Newman stated: ‘It took me time to influence her I wasn’t as boring as I regarded.’

As the actors they have been understudying danced on-stage, Newman and Woodward did the identical behind the scenes. ‘Soon I’d start to have this horrible downside in my pants and she or he’d say, ‘My goodness, what is that this?’,’ Newman stated in an interview for his memoir. ‘I used to be in pursuit of lust.’

This was an issue, as Newman was already married. He and spouse Jackie Witte had two younger kids and would quickly have a 3rd.

But clearly it wasn’t an excessive amount of of an issue for Newman who discovered the gregarious Woodward, a lovely Southern belle from Georgia, a lot extra enticing than his shy and retiring spouse.

‘We left a path of lust far and wide — motels, lodges, public parks and loos,’ Newman admitted of his affair with Woodward, including coyly: ‘All of it is higher left to the creativeness.’

Aside from the physical attraction, Newman and Woodward, pictured, also bonded through their upbringing. Both were the children of successful businessmen fathers and difficult mothers

Aside from the bodily attraction, Newman and Woodward, pictured, additionally bonded via their upbringing. Both have been the youngsters of profitable businessmen fathers and tough moms

Aside from the bodily attraction, additionally they bonded via their upbringing.

Both have been the youngsters of profitable businessmen fathers and tough moms. Indeed, Newman recognized so intently together with his father, an Ohio sporting items retailer, that he was satisfied that, like him, he would die at 55.

And he acquired on so badly together with his overbearing mom that, after she as soon as recommended Woodward was having an affair with their good friend Gore Vidal, he threw her out of their taxi and did not converse to her for 15 years.

He and Woodward carried out an affair for 5 years, throughout which era they each moved to Hollywood and gained studio contracts.

Eventually, in 1958, he divorced Jackie and married Joanne, leaving the previous with three kids — Scott, Susan and Stephanie — beneath the age of 5.

Jackie was interviewed for Newman’s memoir, saying: ‘I used to be very offended. I felt very betrayed and do nonetheless to at the present time.’

Stephanie Newman, tells the documentary that her mom was ‘destroyed’ by the divorce and that she was ‘disgusted’ by how her father had handled her.

Ironically it was Woodward who was the bigger star initially and, in 1957 aged 27, she won a Best Actress Oscar for The Three Faces Of Eve. She was even hailed as the most promising actress of her generation

Ironically it was Woodward who was the larger star initially and, in 1957 aged 27, she gained a Best Actress Oscar for The Three Faces Of Eve. She was even hailed as probably the most promising actress of her technology

‘I used to be a child and needed to watch my dad and step-mum experience off into the sundown with Hollywood contracts.’ However, she concedes that Newman and Woodward did really feel enormously responsible about their behaviour and — Woodward specifically — put a lot effort into incorporating the three older kids into their household. 

Even so, Newman conceded he felt dangerous that his kids with Jackie lived modestly within the Los Angeles suburb of San Fernando Valley whereas his ‘princesses’ — Elinor, Melissa and Claire — with Woodward lived in an enormous Beverly Hills mansion.

Ironically it was Woodward who was the larger star initially and, in 1957 aged 27, she gained a Best Actress Oscar for The Three Faces Of Eve. She was even hailed as probably the most promising actress of her technology.

Two years later she had their first youngster and from the beginning felt immensely torn between profession and motherhood. When she as soon as left the toddlers to movie on location, she stated she ‘felt overwhelmed with guilt’ and did not do it once more.

She may solely watch enviously as Newman’s profession took off with Somebody Up There Likes Me and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, co-starring Elizabeth Taylor.

‘I hope the youngsters perceive that though they have been every one among them adored, if I needed to do it another time… I may not have had kids,’ Woodward admitted bluntly years later. ‘Actors do not make good dad and mom.’ Actors do not at all times make good spouses both.

Two years later she had their first child and from the start felt immensely torn between career and motherhood

Two years later she had their first youngster and from the beginning felt immensely torn between profession and motherhood

‘From the primary time I met Paul I at all times knew he was a drunk,’ stated Woodward. ‘We at all times had Christmas Eve dinner and Paul would get drunk and move out, leaving me feeling just like the final of the nice Christian martyrs at one o’clock within the morning, filling all of the stockings and placing the issues beneath the Christmas tree — ‘What an exquisite individual I’m whereas that sh*t over there may be getting drunk!’

She believed her troubled husband solely actually discovered peace when he was ‘lifeless drunk’ or, later in life, when he took up motor racing.

His daughters inform the documentary that Newman was a ‘functioning alcoholic’ who was by no means late for work nor, certainly, regarded the more serious for put on in public.

Melissa recalled he would usually refill a sink with ice and water after which plunge his face in it earlier than heading off for filming.

In his personal interview for the memoir that was by no means written, Newman stated that he believed he drank as a result of he allowed himself to be overwhelmed by his frustrations with life.

In the Nineteen Seventies, when he began making movies he hated resembling catastrophe film The Towering Inferno, he admitted his ingesting was ‘uncontrolled’. He ‘will need to have pushed Joanne loopy’ he admitted however he stated that she drove him mad, too.

Woodward could be refreshingly nonchalant about celebrity and regularly used to turn up on chat shows with her knitting. However she found it hard to cope with being married to an international sex symbol

Woodward may very well be refreshingly nonchalant about movie star and commonly used to show up on chat exhibits along with her knitting. However she discovered it exhausting to deal with being married to a global intercourse image

Melissa concedes her mom may very well be ‘very tough’ — mercurial, neurotic and given to bearing grudges. ‘They have been artists and so after they acquired right into a battle there was plenty of yelling and throwing and storming off,’ provides her sister Claire. But additionally they shared a passionately bodily relationship. Their daughters say they might by no means perceive why they needed to undergo two doorways to enter the couple’s bed room — and a type of had a bolt.

Woodward may very well be refreshingly nonchalant about movie star and commonly used to show up on chat exhibits along with her knitting. However she discovered it exhausting to deal with being married to a global intercourse image. ‘Paul and I have been strolling down the road sooner or later and we handed these two ladies each of whom gave Paul the same old response,’ she stated.

‘Then one checked out me and stated: ‘Is that her?’ I simply felt like working after them and shouting, ‘Yes! It’s me! I do not know what my identify is however it’s me!’

For his half. Newman insisted that girls realised he wasn’t remotely attractive as soon as they met him and ‘their stage of sexual curiosity declines with each passing second’.

But was that simply false modesty? The movie refers obliquely to his rumoured infidelity, with Woodward saying: ‘I may by no means make him perceive that I had probably the most terrible terror of what might need been taking place … my instincts are unbelievable which might be why he lastly confessed all of it.’

Exactly what he confessed shouldn’t be clear though, in 2009, biographer Shawn Levy revealed that Newman had an 18-month affair with a curvaceous journalist named Nancy Bacon. It began when she was despatched to interview him whereas he was filming Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid in 1968.

When rumours appeared within the Press, Newman and Woodward took out a half-page advert within the LA Times to mock them, just for Bacon to verify it was all true and name their affair ‘the worst saved secret in Hollywood’. She stated his buddies would joke: ‘Paul could not exit for hamburger, however he positive goes out for Bacon.’

Melissa Newman says her mom was at all times conscious she was ‘taking a threat’ by having a relationship with a person who’d cheated on his first spouse and was prone to be able to do it to her, too.

‘I discovered a e-book written by someone he had an affair with … in a drawer within the lavatory,’ stated her sister Elinor. ‘There’s a horrible second there the place you realise your dad is fallible.’

Newman actually felt fallible when his solely son, Scott, a stuntman, died in 1978, aged 28 from a drug overdose. The actor’s troubled eldest youngster had taken his dad and mom’ divorce notably badly — he was caught sniffing glue when he was simply 12 and would beat up his step-sisters.

From this level on Newman’s appearing roles turned darker and deeper whereas he established himself as one among Hollywood’s nice philanthropists — organising a drug rehabilitation centre, a camp for desperately unwell kids and launching ‘Newman’s Own’, a meals firm that began with the salad dressing he would make and provides to buddies — that has raised greater than $550 million for charity since 1982.

He did not care that some thought it was cheesy and his buddies stated it was an apparent bid for ‘redemption’ after permitting Scott to die.

Paul Newman died of most cancers aged 83 in 2008 — a yr after his spouse, now 92, was recognized with Alzheimer’s and retreated from public view.

His good appears to be like had propelled him to the highest of Hollywood.

Perhaps it was at all times an excessive amount of to anticipate he would have an ideal personal life, too.