What's in a Name? Paul Newman

Paul Newman
Paul Newman

Paul Newman is an an Academy Award-winning actor, who has a legion of fans. Not only for his movie roles, but also for his food. He has created a business empire, the profits of which benefit charity, under the label Newman's Own.

But a different Paul Newman owned the name first. "I'm Paul Newman the first," said Paul Newman, an 83-year-old born and raised in Savannah.

And he's no stranger to fame himself. "My daddy played a fiddle and had a band called the Early Birds, played on WTOC radio," he said.

Paul used to sing on WTOC radio in the 1930s, with his brother. They were known as Paul and Freddy, and they sang "Home on the Range" and got so many requests from fans that the station put them on every week. "So Paul and Freddy sang every Saturday," he said.

Paul was only 13 at the time and says there were some perks to being famous. "Starland Dairies sponsored us," he recalled. "They brought us ice cream, that's about the best thing I remember about it."

Music still plays an important part in Paul's life. Diabetes and arthritis have slowed him down, but he still plays the fiddle sometimes at church.

He's always been good with his hands. "I built this house. And I built this house next door," he told us. "I was a general contractor."

While working on a job site at 31st and Habersham when he was just a teenager himself, he met the love of his life, a girl named Nova. "I was working inside the house," he recalled. "She introduced herself, she brought me iced tea and it went from there."

It was the foundation of a 60-year marriage. "That's a long time," Paul said. "Some people don't even live that long, but I had a good wife."

Together they raised children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Sadly, Nova passed away in 1999. "We always got along with each other," Paul said. "That explains the length of time we were together. They don't last that long anymore."

Legends that movies are made of are just memories that are truly Paul Newman's own.

Reported by: Mike Cihla, mcihla@wtoc.com