Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Paul Newman: Race Car Driver & Antique Buyer

PLN: Paul Leonard Newman. Iconic actor. Extraordinary Philanthropist. Competitive Race Car Driver. Secret Antique Afficianado?? Yes: He appreciated Antiques.

The most recent race of the American Petit LeMans Series was held in Braselton, Georgia on October 4th. Everywhere one looked were tributes to Paul Newman; from the last car he raced with The Hole in the Wall Gang logo on the side, to the "PLN" label each car wore like a proud badge of courage, Paul Newman was present. From his affable manner to his exquisite looks to his competitive streak to his sportsmanlike conduct, he was present at the Petit LeMans.

So how does Paul Newman go from Petit LeMans race car driver to antique collector? Where is the segue?

Like all people passionate about being the best informed about their interests, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward lived a life together expanding a broad range of interests and hobbies. They lived far from the lights of Hollywood, preferring to make beautiful Westport, Connecticut home. Connecticut is arguably one of the most antique focused states in the country, and there they would have been exposed to wonderful examples of 18th and 19th century American Folk Art and Decorative Arts. It was not uncommon for them to peruse the Winter Antiques Show at the New York Armory. Occasionally, they would buy.

So how does one describe a person who comes from little, but by perserverance, determination, committment, and a deep need to leave the world better than he found it while also having a little fun along the way? How does one describe a person whose interests range from Broadway to movies; from race cars to antiques; from food to improving the life of children who are afraid of what the future holds? I call that something which we rarely hear anymore; something that no one seems to aspire to anymore. I call that a Renaissance Man. Thank you, PLN, for reminding us that it is okay to be vulnerable while being tough; serious about our commitments while having a little fun; and smart about our choices while not taking ourselves too dramatically. Thank you for living life the way most of us only dream about: by setting an example for the rest of us.

St. Andrews from the Cathedral