Saturday, September 27, 2008

RIP Paul Newman

I was saddened to read about the passing of Paul Newman after a battle with cancer. While I enjoyed him as an actor, it was what he did when not in front of the camera that earned my admiration.

I read a book in which he and A. E. Hotchner wrote about how they improbably started their Newman's salad dressing business, and how they truly broke the rules as a start-up in this industry. It was their approach that tickled me - they had nothing to lose, so why not do it the way they wanted, and have a lot of fun in the process?

The result was a huge success, with multiple product lines, and almost a quarter billion dollars donated to charity. And he had fun doing it. That was the essence of his foundation.

A statement from his foundation: “While his philanthropic interests and donations were wide-ranging, he was especially committed to the thousands of children with life-threatening conditions served by the Hole in the Wall Camps, which he helped start over 20 years ago. He saw the Camps as places where kids could escape the fear, pain and isolation of their conditions, kick back, and raise a little hell. Today, there are 11 Camps around the world, with additional programs in Africa and Vietnam. Through the Camps, well over 135,000 children have had the chance to experience what childhood was meant to be."

"In Paul's words: "I wanted to acknowledge luck; the chance and benevolence of it in my life, and the brutality of it in the lives of others, who might not be allowed the good fortune of a lifetime to correct it."

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