From Publishers Weekly
Author and playwright Hotchner (Papa Hemingway) met Paul Newman in 1955, when the unknown actor took over for James Dean in Hotchner's first teleplay, beginning a friendship that lasted until the legendary actor's 2008 death. Chronicling that friendship, Hotchner presents a meandering collection of stories about their times and projects, including the successful business they started together. Vignettes feature the two fishing, traveling, and developing the Newman's Own brand, spreading the familiar news of Newman's nice-guy reputation, rigorous preparation for specific roles, penchant for practical jokes, philanthropic efforts, political involvement and disdain for rules. Though there's no question that the relationship between them ran deep-one passage finds Newman confiding his guilt over the drug-related death of his son, Scott-the author places himself in the middle of every story, resorts to frequent namedropping, and quotes extensively from private conversations that took place decades ago, giving the proceedings a queasy current of self-regard that could rub fans the wrong way.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The author and Newman met in 1955, when the actor was starring in a television play written by Hotchner. They became friends and remained buddies until Newman’s death in 2008. Hotchner probably could have written a traditional biography of Newman, but instead he’s chosen—rightly—to write about episodes from their friendship, to show us Paul Newman as seen by someone close to him. We all have an image of Newman: talented actor, philanthropist, race-car driver, nice guy. But how many of us know that Newman, until shooting started, thought he was playing Sundance in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; that he turned down roles in All That Jazz and Jaws; that he was an incorrigible practical joker? Hotchner introduces us to the Newman we probably don’t know, and he turns out to be a man we wish we could have called our friend. Beautifully written (you can tell Hotchner loved and admired his friend) and probably more revealing of the actor’s private side than any traditional biography could hope to be. --David Pitt