Yesterday I heard a little something about Paul Newman being close to talking that walk across the footbridge, and today the Hollywood Newsroom guys, who know absolutely nothing (and don’t even put timestamps on their postings), reported they’ve heard from “two sources” that he’s passed. It sounded to me like a time-waster but you never know. You have to at least ask, I mean. Vanity Fair, after all, decided to run their obit piece weeks ago so they wouldn’t be bringing up the rear by waiting for Newman’s curtain to literally come down.
So I called Newman’s biographer Shawn Levy (who’s just finished writing about Sometimes A Great Notion) and he hadn’t heard squat. And then I called Ashley Varese, the smug-sounding managing editor of The Westport News. I say this because Varese chuckled when I repeated the rumor and asked if she’d heard anything. Despite Newman having reportedly ended his chemotherapy treatment and returned to his Westport home to wait for it, Varese thought it was amusing that anyone would be so daft as to suppose there might be some truthful basis to the rumble. She chuckled the way certain publicists chuckle when they try to dismiss something you’re trying to learn about as being a “non-story.” I took an instant dislike to her. People who chuckle derisively when you’re making an honest inquiry need to slapped upside the head.
This, in any event, is my last Newman-watch posting. To be on the safe side this afternoon I’m going to record some of my favorite Newman dialogue moments (which I’ll run as part of my obit), but otherwise I’m just going to bide my time and wait for it.