Paul Newman was an unapologetic liberal, Maureen Dowd reminds us in a column on the actor who was also her teenage crush. He made Nixon's enemies list for supporting Eugene McCarthy and opposing the Vietnam War, and had "traits that have been in short supply in the Bush administration," Dowd writes: "shrewdness, humility, decency, generosity, class." He also taught the clueless-in-the-kitchen reporter how to make a good salad.
Newman didn't care to chat about his films in interviews, Dowd recalls, finding acting corrupting because it "places a terrible premium on appearance. He loved to play goofy practical jokes, and was embarrassed by women flirting with him. Dowd suspects his wife, Joanne Woodward, of being wounded by his stardom, but Newman was devoted. “If anyone had ever told me 20 years ago I’d be sitting in a room with peach walls, I would have told them to take a nap in a urinal."