Paul Newman, 1925-2008: Nobody’s Fool


I’m reposting an updated version of something I wrote back in June, when it was first reported that Paul Newman was suffering from cancer. Newman passed away Friday.

Even at the age of 83, Paul Newman was still my favorite bad boy. Unlike James Dean, he stayed alive, and unlike Marlon Brando, he managed to live his life off-screen in an inspiring manner.

He married a class act, Joanne Woodward, and stayed married for 50 years. He started Newman’s Own, the food company that has donated $200 million of its profits to charity, and he funded the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for terminally ill kids. And the race car driving! Talk about living the life you want.

A cool Aquarius born Jan. 26, 1925, Newman had a Capricorn stellium of Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus on his Ascendant. The combo showed up in his childhood — his father owned a successful sporting (Jupiter) goods store (Cap) and in his movies — ones about the legal system (Jupiter) like The Verdict and ones about racing (Mercury) like Winning, which prompted Newman to take up the sport in real life.

The Jupiterian sports theme was also evident in the aptly named Somebody Up There Likes Me (a boxing film that was supposed to star James Dean until he died), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (ex-football player), The Hustler (pool), and Slap Shot (hockey).

Because the Jupiter/Mercury/Venus lineup was in Capricorn, Newman continued to work well after he acquired wrinkles and gray hair, a rarity in youth-dominated Hollywood. And, as commenter GianPaul points out, it’s square Mars in Aries, injecting an element of sexy danger.

The Cap lineup opposed Pluto in Cancer in the seventh house of relationships. Here was a very intense guy who forged lasting alliances with both business and romantic partners.

Given that Cancerian (food) emphasis in the seventh house of partnerships, I get a chuckle when I remember Newman’s response when an interviewer asked why he remained married in spite of the temptations that beckon a superstar actor: “I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?” is what Newman told Playboy magazine.

Underneath the bravado, Newman was sensitive, with a Pisces Moon, which was conjunct Woodward’s Sun. Meanwhile, her Aquarius Moon was on his Sun. They had the classic marriage indicator — Sun/Moon conjunction — going in both directions. In a world where the word “soulmates” gets overused, Newman and Woodward were the real thing.

When I was reading an article about Newman in the September Vanity Fair, I was struck by his description of his relationship with Woodward. “Joanne has a habit of rationalizing [Aquarius], and when she starts that, that’s when I turn ugly! But when she tells me what she instinctively feels [Pisces], I pay very close attention.”

Interesting that the Aquarian gets annoyed when his Aquarius Moon wife starts “rationalizing,” but responds when she expresses her feelings, mirroring his Pisces Moon.

The amazing synastry between Newman and Woodward prompted many astrologers to write journal articles and give conference presentations on Newman and Woodward. (Synastry is astrologese for compatibility.)

Rather than live in the limelight of Tinseltown, Newman and Woodward escaped to small-town America to raise three daughters — Claire, Elinor (Nell), and Melissa. Newman had two daughters — Susan and Stephanie — from a previous marriage, as well as a son, Scott, who died of an accidental drug overdose in 1978. The residents of Westport, Conn., respected the privacy of their town’s biggest celebrities, according to this poignant story from the Associated Press.

Looking at recent transits to Newman’s chart, his natal Neptune in Leo, which squared Saturn in Scorpio, was being opposed by transiting Neptune, North Node, and Chiron in Aquarius during his fight with cancer.

Jupiter in Capricorn was on Newman’s Ascendant when he died. As we students of astrology know, people leaving the earth often have “happy” transits. Saturn and Pluto show up in the charts of the survivors, usually making aspects to the personal planets or the angles.

My French astropal, Claire Courts at AstroRevolution, has a good analysis of the transits to Newman’s chart when he passed away.

Here’s the chart from AstroDataBank.

I’d be hard-pressed to say which Paul Newman film is my favorite. Certainly, not the classic Seventies buddy flicks he did with Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, though I loved them at the time. Not edgy enough for me. I’ve narrowed it down to Hud, Cool Hand Luke, and The Hustler.

In his later years, I loved the reprise of The Hustler that he did with Tom Cruise, The Color of Money, which won him his sole best actor Oscar.

A special place is reserved for Newman’s collaboration with Woodward in Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, produced by the art film champions Ishmael Merchant and James Ivory. The two play a bourgeois WASP couple from Kansas City who try to keep their marriage on even keel.

I had the pleasure of meeting Newman once at an Indian restaurant that Merchant owned next to the Paris Theatre in New York in the mid-Nineties. Those blue eyes were truly incredible. I’ll never forget them. Ditto for the sly grin when you first spot him across the room, the one that says, “Yeah, it’s me.”

As an old college buddy pointed out when I first posted this riff, Newman was the perfect curmudgeon in the film adaptation of the Richard Russo novel Nobody’s Fool. Filmed in the town where I live, Beacon, N.Y., Fool helped kick-start the revitalization of Main Street after the film studio paid for some refurbishing. Interesting that with this connection between Newman and my hometown, his stellium of Cap planets falls on the cusp of the fourth house, while rules the home.

Millions of children who may not know Newman for his charismatic screen presence probably can recognize his voice. He vivified a Hudson Hornet in Pixar’s Cars. In that animated film, Newman was the voice of Doc Hudson, the mayor in the town of Radiator Springs. Ole Doc has a thing or two to teach whippersnapper Lightning McQueen, whose voice was provided by Owen Wilson.

The slogan for Cool Hand Luke, which was uttered by a prison warden in the film and has since become part of the American lexicon, was: “What we’ve got here is a failure (pronounced “fail-yuh”) to communicate.”

There was never a failure to communicate between Newman and his audiences. Fans got the testosterone-injected message loud and clear. Men wanted to be cool, tough, and later, worldly-wise like him. And women? We all know what women wanted.

Aquarius v. Aquarius: Nancy Takes on Sarah

My astrocolleagues and readers of this blog know that I’m a major fan of Nancy over at Nancy’s Blog at Starlight News. For me, one of the high points of attending the United Astrology Convention in May was getting to pick Nancy’s brain over lunch.

A combination of insight and good old-fashioned number-crunching makes Nancy a mundane astrologer par excellence. Her views are definitely left of center, but that’s O.K. with me. Reading her blog helped keep me sane during the Bush Administration. She was my reality check. (Forgive me if I sound as if I’m speaking in the past tense. In my book, Bush II is history.)

Nancy’s in fine form, analyzing the phenomenon that she has dubbed “Hurricane Sarah.” You can read her take on Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin here. Nancy knows of what she speaks when she dissects Palin’s Aquarian character since Nancy was also born under the sign of the Water Bearer.

Kim Novak, Astrology, and Search Engines

This is really weird. On Tuesday night, my husband and I watched Kim Novak and Fred MacMurray in a great film noir called Pushover on Turner Classic Movies. Yesterday, I was looking at Novak’s chart and noticing that the August 16 eclipse falls quite close to her 24-degree Aquarian Sun.

Now, I see that at this moment (1:12 p.m. EDT, Aug. 14) Kim Novak is the second most popular search on Yahoo, but I can’t figure out why. When I search Kim Novak, no news stories come up, just her film credits on IMDB. What’s going on with Kim Novak? Does anybody know?

Novak, most famous for co-starring in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo opposite Jimmy Stewart, was born on Feb. 13, 1933 at 6:13 a.m., according to AstroTheme. You can see the chart here.

In one of my favorite Novak films, Bell, Book, and Candle, the actress is again paired with Stewart. She plays a witch named Gillian who lives in Greenwich Village and has a black cat named Pyewacket. I was fascinated by Bell’s beat influences, African art, and a young Jack Lemmon playing the bongo drums.

The Wiki speculates Gillian was the inspiration for Elizabeth Montgomery’s character Samantha in Bewitched, but I know she was also the model for budding astrologers who dreamed of living in Manhattan and hanging out at nightclubs.

There is a blogger named Kim Novak with a Web cam. Perhaps this is the Kim Novak that everyone is searching for on Yahoo. She and her friends have been staging an Office Olympics, to coincide with the Summer Games in Beijing. One contest is a ring toss that features sombreros, among other competitions.

As someone who spends a lot of time getting schooled in search-engine optimization, the art of generating Internet traffic, I’d say that blogger Kim Novak’s Office Olympics is a great way to get people to her site, especially since so many people are reading about the Beijing Olympics right now. I bet blogger Novak doesn’t even know that the name asteroid Olympia is squaring the North Node right now.

Dark Days and Knights for Christian Bale

There are so many things that I want to write about today, I don’t know where to begin. Being the Capricorn snob that I am, I like to get my celebrity gossip from upmarket sources like The Guardian of London.

Anyway, yesterday’s Guardian reported that The Dark Knight star Christian Bale was arrested by London police for allegedly assaulting his mother and sister the night of the film’s premiere. My first question: Where’s Dad?

Yahoo! (not as posh as the Guardian, I’ll admit) has a followup today, with the Welsh star of the latest Batman installment asking reporters in Spain, where the record-breaking film is making its local premiere, to respect his family’s privacy. Here’s the link: http://movies.yahoo.com/mv/news/ap/20080724/121691112000.html

Here’s the quick and dirty on Bale. With his natal Jupiter at 21 degrees of Aquarius, I’m not surprised that Dark Knight is a blockbuster. Neptune, which rules film, and the North Node, which governs contacts with the public, are transiting that natal Jupiter.

However, Pluto in Sagittarius is back on Bale’s South Node, and is not far from where it was when Dark Night co-star Heath Ledger died on Jan. 22, 2008). Pluto, the god of the underworld, is bringing up all kinds of stuff from Bales’ unconscious mind, no doubt with the aid of drugs and alcohol, because of the transit from Neptune to his natal Jupiter.

Bale, an Aquarius born Jan. 30, 1974 at an unknown time, had better be careful or he’ll end up in the slammer. Rehab may also be a distinct possibility. Here’s the chart, courtesy of Astro*Zoom, which uses Java, which not everyone has loaded on her computer: http://www.astrozoom.com/celebrity/Christian_Bale.html

Passages of outer planets like Pluto and Neptune can be quite disorienting and difficult to process without guidance. To quote Shakespeare, “Get thee to a nunnery” or some other safe venue to explore your demons, Christian!

All reader comments welcome on this one, folks. I’m just scratching the surface.