Published October 28, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO – A Hollywood who's-who turned out for an annual fundraiser for Paul Newman's children's camp that doubled as a tribute to the late actor.
The lineup for a dramatic reading of "The World of Nick Adams" on Monday night at San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall already was set when the acting legend died of cancer Sept. 26 at the age of 83. The event benefited The Painted Turtle, a camp for children with life-threatening illnesses that was started by Newman in 1999.
"We expected Paul to be with us and so this kind of turned into kind of a tribute," said Danny Glover, who joined Jack Nicholson, Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, Warren Beatty, Sean Penn and other big names in the reading. "This is the first time we are doing this without Paul — there is a void there, without a doubt."
Some 2,500 people attended the star-studded benefit, which began with a video in which Newman discussed his work with the Association of Hole in The Wall Camps, which runs 11 camps around the world including The Painted Turtle.
"What I was trying to do was acknowledge luck," Newman said in the video narrated by Nicholson. "If you acknowledge it, you have to do something about it — something for the less fortunate."
There was no mention of Newman during the scripted 90-minute reading, which is the words of Ernest Hemingway adapted for television by A.E. Hotchner, who started the food company Newman's Own with the actor. But after the performance, children from the camp joined the 17 actors on stage as singer Bonnie Raitt performed "Put a Little Love Into Your Heart," which she dedicated to Newman.
Newman and the Newman's Own brand have given more than $250 million to charity over the years.
Hanks, who starred with Newman in 2002's "Road to Perdition," remembered him Monday as a down-to-earth actor who was always willing to share the screen.
"Paul was a member of the ensemble more than anything else," Hanks said. "He didn't care about the hierarchy, but he was a guy, quite frankly, who should have won the Nobel Peace Prize."