Paul Newman’s guilt over son’s death

Paul Newman’s guilt over his son’s drug death

And other searingly honest chapters of the actor’s life will be revealed in forthcoming memoir

Paul Newman’s heartbreaking and poignant story about the loss of his only son Scott will be told in a never before published autobiography coming out next fall.

Much has been written about one the world’s greatest actors, but nothing like the truth that Newman himself recorded on tape ten years before his death.

The star of such classics as Cool Hand Luke, Hud, The Hustler, The Verdict, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid died in 2008 at the age of 83.

When asked of his feelings about his son’s death from an overdose of drugs and alcohol at the age of 28, Newman said, “All that will be resolved in death.”

Paul Newman’s guilt over son’s death
Scott Newman

As a father whose son died from an overdose of barbiturates at the age of 23, I hope he’s right, as I hope it will be for me.

The tape recordings Paul Newman made of his life languished in the basement of his house in Connecticut until his family recently decided to turn the transcripts into a memoir.

Paul Newman hated the unrelenting attention that his fame brought him, but his children hated it even more. Living in their father’s shadow was especially a heavy burden for his son, and Paul Newman felt personally responsible for the troubled youth’s death.

Paul Newman’s guilt
Scott with his father and mother, Newman’s first wife Jacqueline Witte.

In the tapes, Newman describes his early life, including his difficult relationship with his parents, his problem drinking, his failed first marriage to Jacqueline Witte, and his shortcomings as a parent.

With the help of one of his closest friends, the screenwriter Stewart Stern, Newman began his oral history more than 30 years ago.

Stern spent several years interviewing people from all corners of Newman’s life, including his children, his ex-wife, close friends, and actors and directors. The result was thousands of pages of transcripts.

“What he recorded was so honest and revealing,” said Peter Gethers, of the Knopf publishing house who will edit the book. “It shows a guy who was very flawed at the beginning of his life and as a young man before he became the Paul Newman we knew.”

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5 thoughts on “Paul Newman’s guilt over his son’s drug death

  1. I am sorry for your loss of a son. I too lost mine to drugs when he was 38. ” All that will be resolved in death,” is a saying I have not heard before. At 72, I will soon find out.

  2. And I feel for your loss. We are in the same septuagenarian age range and I hope with all my heart that what Newman said carries some truth. I have my doubts, but this is where suspension of disbelieve, that is, having faith, however unlikely, becomes a reason for going on. Thank you for your response.