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paulnewmanpicic.jpgThough most of the celebrity news over the weekend focused on two celebrities who died somewhat unexpectedly, I was saddened by another, far quieter, announcement about a celebrity’s health status last week. Movie legend and philanthropist Paul Newman has been battling cancer and it has now been reported in several media outlets that he has stopped treatment and has returned home to live out his final days.
Newman has always guarded his privacy vigilantly so, of course, the star has not confirmed this report– much like he didn’t confirm his original diagnosis of cancer a few months ago, though the news was leaked by a friend. Still, a picture of Newman in a wheelchair surfaced earlier this month, and it lends credibility to the sad reality that we may soon lose one of Hollywood’s true noblemen.


I have always admired Newman’s acting, of course, but I have admired far more the way he has handled his celebrity with humility, dignity, and integrity. Newman has donated over $250 million to charity through his Newman’s Own brand, but never put his family up for sale to the magazine that was the highest bidder as some kind of fundraiser. He has stayed married to the same woman for fifty years in an era when most celebrity relationships don’t last longer than a few months. He has even made getting older look sexy and cool as he raced cars until just a few years ago.
In digging around the Internet, I found an interesting post on Newman over at jewcy.com calling Newman a mensch. Seems the actor has identified himself in the past with his Jewish roots from his dad’s side of the family. The article didn’t explain the “mensch” reference, and although I have heard the Yiddish word before, I didn’t know exactly know what it was. The American Heritage Dictionary defines mensch as “A person having admirable characteristics, such as fortitude and firmness of purpose.”
So now I know. Newman is a true mensch among men in Hollywood and my prayers are with him and his family

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