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Extended Audio Sample Paul Newman: A Life Audiobook, by Shawn Levy Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.2 out of 53.2 out of 53.2 out of 53.2 out of 53.2 out of 5 3.20 (40 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Shawn Levy Narrator: Marc Cashman Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2009 ISBN: 9780307576569
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Paul Newman, the Oscar-winning actor with the legendary blue eyes, achieved superstar status by playing charismatic renegades, broken heroes, and winsome antiheroes in such revered films as The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Verdict, The Color of Money, and Nobody’s Fool.

But Newman was also an oddity in Hollywood: the rare box-office titan who cared about the craft of acting, the sexy leading man known for the staying power of his marriage, and the humble celebrity who made philanthropy his calling card long before it was cool.

The son of a successful entrepreneur, Newman grew up in a prosperous Cleveland suburb. Despite fears that he would fail to live up to his father’s expectations, Newman bypassed the family sporting goods business to pursue an acting career. After struggling as a theater and television actor, Newman saw his star rise in a tragic twist of fate, landing the role of boxer Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me when James Dean was killed in a car accident.

Though he would joke about instances of “Newman’s luck” throughout his career, he refused to coast on his stunning boyish looks and impish charm.

In Paul Newman: A Life, film critic and pop culture historian Shawn Levy gives readers the ultimate behind-the-scenes examination of the actor’s life, from his merry pranks on the set, to his lasting romance with Joanne Woodward, to the devastating impact of his son’s death from a drug overdose. This definitive biography is a fascinating portrait of an extraordinarily gifted man who gave back as much as he got out of life and just happened to be one of the most celebrated movie stars of the twentieth century.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sueldecker | 2/20/2014

    " I have always been a huge Paul Newman fan, but I wondered how this book could be so long. Then the surprise was that not only is it about Paul Newman, but it is an interesting history of the film industry during the time he was acting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martha Swanson | 2/17/2014

    " A lot of material to get through. Not an easy read, but a thorough presentation of his life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 2/12/2014

    " This felt like kind of a cursory review of Newman's life. Decent biography but not exceptional. Made me realize that I need to see Hud. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cheryl Petersen | 2/11/2014

    " Seemed like Levy idolized Newman. Which, Newman was an outstanding figure, but I wanted to learn more than how great he was. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy Michael | 2/8/2014

    " As a fan of Paul Newman movies and an admirer of his successful marriage to Joanne Woodward (so rare in Hollywood), this was a must read for me. Paul Newman guarded his private life, so this book did not contain "juicy gossip" as some other tell alls. At times when the author stuck in editorials..it drug a bit..but I found I could skip over those pages. My admiration for Paul Newman as an actor, man and of course as a philantropist was enhanced..and I would like to go back and watch again many of his movies, which the author did a good job of giving a behind the scenes view of. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Merissa | 2/6/2014

    " I have been fascinated with Paul Newman, the actor, for years. This biography is so well put together that I feel I am reading an autobiography or memoir instead. Like many biographies, there are slight lull's in the story, but that's nothing compared to learning about the life behind "that face". Very enjoyable, especially if you're a fan of Newman's. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lucille | 1/28/2014

    " I learned a lot about Newman that i never knew. I didn't finish the book, because I got bogged down in it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Medora | 1/27/2014

    " I enjoyed reading about Paul in this even handed biography. It was very well researched and well presented, although the chronology was a bit scrabbled at times. Part saint, part sinner, and always ready with a gag, Paul led a fascinating life made more interesting to me by the fact that our paths crossed & almost crossed a few times! Even if you don't want to read the book, you may enjoy the cover photograph! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Peg | 1/21/2014

    " More about his movie career than his personal life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 1/20/2014

    " dang, newman drank a case a beer a day for 30 years "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kelly | 1/3/2014

    " I am sad to be giving up on this book. I love Paul Newman. I made it halfway through this author's poor writing. I want scenes. I want to see what's happening. Instead I get fact after fact, movie after movie. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melinda | 12/26/2013

    " i like him, just not too crazy about this hohum account of his life "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Berish | 12/24/2013

    " This is a good book on the actor's career who seems to have been just as nice a person as he was portrayed in the news and the charities he dealt with. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tina | 12/23/2013

    " Nothing really new info wise, but it was a nice read about a A wonderful Hollywood legend. I miss Paul Newman. He was one of a kind. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 12/6/2013

    " A good book about a wonderful philanthropist, chef, movie actor, and his love of auto racing "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Derek | 12/4/2013

    " One of the better biographies I have read. Shawn Levy covers him well in all aspects of his life-professional, personal and philanthropic. Mr Newman is truely a man and actor I respect "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 10/5/2013

    " I love Paul Newman, so I couldn't help but enjoy the book--though there were some things that I didn't want to know. The book was slightly disorganized, but it stuck in my head. I found myself thinking about it for days after. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie Casey | 8/23/2013

    " It is a interesting book about Paul Newman. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 8/23/2013

    " Makes me want to see all of Paul Newman's movies. He was truly a great actor and well respected. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joe Bartello | 6/16/2013

    " Never was the greatest fan but this book puts his career in perspective and overall his work is impressive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolynnelv | 5/28/2013

    " Written very good. Really enjoyed this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maureen | 5/25/2013

    " The man is gorgeous! Is life was sooo normal! I skimmed near the end because I thought some of the detail was boring. Over all I enjoyed the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 4/11/2013

    " I adored Paul Newman so there were a few things that saddened me. He had an affair after his famous comment why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home. He drank a lot. It was interesting reading about his relation to his fame. I wish I could thank him for his great philanthropy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kay | 9/24/2012

    " This is a complete book on Newman's life. It was a little too detailed for me and I found it boring. I will give the author credit - he does stick to facts which I appreciate instead of gossip which may or may not be true. I would rate it 2 1/2 stars if they had that rating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kimberly | 4/6/2012

    " Shawn Levy wrote a great book on Paul Newman!!! Love the old movie stars!!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Irene | 1/21/2012

    " finished the bk and found that it was a story of a man who used his wealth in the single pursuit of helping others. It just made me like him even more as a man, husband father and community leader. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda | 1/20/2012

    " Overall, I found this book a little boring. I finally started skipping through it just to get it finished in time to return to the library. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 11/28/2011

    " Very informative book about one of my favorite actors. The author showed Newman to be a normal person with a mixture of flaws but also some very commendable character traits. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 6/3/2011

    " balanced biography of Hollywood royalty, family man, entrepreneur, philanthropist, race car driver....it looks at all of him, the good, the bad and does not judge but tells the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott | 5/19/2011

    " Good, comprehensive study of a very conflicted actor, a man who fought his own image while embracing it at the same time. a well written work by a hometown (for me) boy, Shawn levy, film critic of The Oregonian here in Portland. Good job, sir. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 2/16/2011

    " dang, newman drank a case a beer a day for 30 years "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/11/2011

    " I love Paul Newman, so I couldn't help but enjoy the book--though there were some things that I didn't want to know. The book was slightly disorganized, but it stuck in my head. I found myself thinking about it for days after. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Corey | 12/9/2010

    " Not the best written bio I've ever read but Newman is a hero of mine. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kathy | 11/17/2010

    " Not so great - makes me not like Paul Newman. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 11/10/2010

    " Really unbiased and very well chronicled. An amazing guy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 10/26/2010

    " This felt like kind of a cursory review of Newman's life. Decent biography but not exceptional. Made me realize that I need to see Hud. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 1/26/2010

    " Paul Newman wouldn't be interviewed for this book, and when he declined, so did many of his friends, so it didn't come across as very personal. Still, it was a decent recounting of his life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kris | 1/20/2010

    " Fall in love all over again with a true star. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda | 12/27/2009

    " Overall, I found this book a little boring. I finally started skipping through it just to get it finished in time to return to the library. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kimberly | 12/15/2009

    " Shawn Levy wrote a great book on Paul Newman!!! Love the old movie stars!!!! "

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About the Author

Shawn Levy is the film critic for the Oregonian and the author of The Last PlayboyReady, Steady, Go!Rat Pack Confidential; and King of Comedy. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and three children.

About the Narrator

Marc Cashman is a three-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award for audiobook narration. His voice has also been heard locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally on radio, television, film, documentaries, radio plays, and video games.