Paul Newman Hangs Out At Farmers’ Market

As previewed earlier this week, Paul Newman made a special appearance today at the Westport Farmers’ Market.

The movie star/blue-eyed idol/race car driver/food purveyor/philanthropist — and, for 50 years, our neighbor — is unfortunately no longer actually here with us.

But a life-size cutout of him stood under a tent, in the bustling market on Imperial Avenue.

Dozens of shoppers of all ages stopped by to pose for a photo. Many had stories. A camera crew from Newman’s Own Foundation — the Westport-based charity that in over 35 years has given away more than $530 million — recorded Newman-related memories.

It’s a Foundation project, for use as a video and on social media.

If you missed him today, don’t worry. Paul will be back on Thursday, August 16 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). His eyes will be as blue as ever.

BONUS STORY:  I was one of the many Farmers’ Market-goers today who shared a Paul Newman story. Here’s mine:

It was the 1970s. Early one summer evening, some friends and I were playing pick-up soccer on the front field at Coleytown Middle (then Junior High) School.

Suddenly, a helicopter hovered overhead. We scattered. It landed.

Out stepped Paul Newman. He wore shorts — and carried a briefcase.

“Hi, boys!” he said cheerily.

The helicopter whirred back into the sky. And, with a wave, one of the most famous actors in the world walked around the corner to his home.

15 responses to “Paul Newman Hangs Out At Farmers’ Market

  1. That was back when helicopters could land in Westport. Jay Emmitt had a landing spot in a field with lights on his property back in those days.

  2. Here’s my Paul Newman story, it took place around 1980. It was a Saturday and I was at the the hardware store that used to be at the top of Main Street. It was about 5:00pm and the store was just about to close. Guess who was in from of me buying light bulbs. Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, Cool Hand Luke!

  3. My brothers and I worked for our father who owned The House of Wares in the Weston Shopping Center in the early 1950’s. One day Paul Newman came into the store to buy something and approached the cash desk to check out. I was well over 6 feet tall so I had to kind of scrunch down behind the desk so I didn’t overpower Paul.. It didn’t take me long to realize that few people could overpower Paul.

  4. I was there that night at Coleytown Jr High. I remember we were somewhat annoyed initially as the helicopter hovered and then slowly descended, interrupting our game. But then we were delighted to see it was our famous Coleytown neighbor.

    I vaguely recall someone in our group kicked the soccer ball to him and he gamely kicked it back.

    I think this PN sighting probably happened in the summer of 1972, because that was the one summer the Watermelon Cup was played at Coleytown during that era (and we typically did our pickup games on the nights the Watermelon Cup wasn’t being played).

  5. Here’s my best Paul Newman’s story. Almost 30 years ago, I was volunteering at The Nature Center (now Earthplace) and we were having our big Christmas wreath and decorations sales which Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward came to every year.

    Every year, one of our volunteers would bake a loaf of apricot brandy tea bread for Paul, which he loved. One Saturday, we waited and waited for the Newmans to come to The Nature Center so she could give them her gift. Finally, she had to go home.

    I was the only one left when Paul and Joanne arrived, whereupon I presented him with the volunteer’s apricot brandy bread, as was asked of me. Paul thanked me, told me it was his favorite treat to have on Christmas morning and planted a big kiss on my cheek. I was over the moon, I was so thrilled to be kissed by Paul Newman!!

    Just goes to show you life isn’t fair. She baked his favorite Christmas bread and I got the kiss!

    I met Paul many more times over the years and he was always so charming, gracious and unassuming – and always so funny. They really broke the mold after he came along. I still miss him. We need more Paul Newmans in this world.

  6. John Hartwell

    My Paul Newman story starts many miles away. In 1968 I dropped out of college in Indiana to work on the Gene McCarthy campaign, and Paul came out to support us in the primary. I had the privilege of driving him around for a day, and he was incredibly gracious and easy going.

    Fast forward to 2006, when I was treasurer for Ned Lamont’s U.S. Senate campaign, and Paul and Joanne hosted a fundraiser for us. I introduced myself and told him that we had met so many years ago on another anti-war campaign, and he responded, “We did good work”. He was right. Even though neither candidate won that time around, the work was important and he and I were proud to be a part of it.

  7. Rosalie Kaye

    Several years ago I was in the shed at Tanglewood, in Lenox, MA, for a concert and I noticed Paul and Joanne in the section in front of mine. I got very excited about ‘what to do’…something/nothing? I decided that I would regret doing nothing, so I walked to their section, and went to their row. They were sitting on the aisle. I said, “Hello, greetings from Westport!” Joanne grinned and nodded, but Paul stood up, smiled broadly, and said, “Thank you.” My heart rate quickened, I smiled, and returned to my seat.

  8. Back in the late 1990’s when Boston Market opened a store in the shopping center where Trader Joe’s is located, Christine and I decided to try it. Christine went in to order the chicken, and I walked our dog outside. Now I am terrible at identifying famous people, and that afternoon proved to be no exception.

    A handsome older man with grey hair and blue eyes came out of the store with his bag of chicken and walked over to me, petted the dog, and said “Hi Schauz” to our standard Schauzer. I told him his name was Max, and he said, “Hi Max; Schnauzers are great dogs.” At that moment, I saw Christine waving to me from inside the store trying to get my attention. I thought she was asking what sides I wanted with the chicken, so I answered by jesturing and mouthing “anything!” She kept waving, and this gentlemen helped by also jesturing and mouthing “anything,”. He then petted Max again and said to have a good afternoon and enjoy the chicken dinner.

    When Christine came out, she said “Do you know who you were talking to?” I said that I didn’t. She said, “You were talking to Paul Newman.”

    • My Swedish grandparents lived in Georgetown, Connecticut, and had an acquaintance named Paul, who was always referred to as Dr. Septic. One day in the late sixties when my mother was visiting her parents, both of whom were out, the phone rang. “Hi, this is Paul….” (“Oh, hi Paul!”) He needed the key to the Masonic Lodge. My mother chatted away while she tried to figure out where that key could be; she had no idea. Later she asked her dad why Dr. Septic needed to get into the Masonic Lodge. “Nooo,” my grandfather said. “Dat vas yust dat actor.” Paul Newman was shooting RACHEL, RACHEL—the first film he directed—in Georgetown, Bethel, and Danbury. Joanne Woodward was the star.

  9. Ruth Kalla Ungerer

    Years ago, my office in New York was several floors below Paul Newman’s office. I remember entering the elevator one day only to find Mr. Newman along with me for the ride. He kept to himself and I to mine.

    That was my first encounter.

    Moving to Westport years later, I was fortunate to attend a lecture at the Library by the editor of the Nation, Victor Navasky,with whom I had met during my years at the New School for Social Research. Paul Newman was there, and as I said hello to Victor, he was silent nearby on the sidelines. My Paul Newman moments.

    Living now in Coleytown, our favorite joke is that we are neighbors of the Newmans as the crow flies. Grateful to have the Newman/Posey sanctury nearby.

    He is a legend to us all.

  10. I have a Mike Rowe full size in my living room!! Love them both!! its actually a great deterrent to any malicious activity here. Actually scares most people when they enter the house! too funny!! I’m an old westporter..went to school with Nell at coleytown. only fond memories. graduated staples 77.

  11. Barbara Katz

    Well, I’ve got a few Paul Newman stories though two really stand out in my memory. One summer during college I was working at the Westport Recreation Commission selling beach stickers. The girl next to me sold tennis passes. Paul walked in followed by a bunch of women wearing tennis clothes all wanting his autograph. What amazed me was that these were all “older” women. The woman who was supervising us workers wouldn’t allow us to sell anything to Paul. She collected our materials and then did the transaction with Paul herself. After he left, followed by all the women, she took his signature on whatever form he filled out and copied it so she’d have his autograph. It was really funny.

    But then I already had his autograph. When some bank opened up in town, Paul was there as the celebrity “draw.” I waited with a group of other Staples students for him to give us his autograph. Now I knew he didn’t really like to give it out (so I’d heard), but he patiently signed for everyone. Finally, it was just Paul and me left. I was trying to figure out what to do — ask him and risk annoying him or just forget it and walk away. So I stood there looking at him, and he looked at me and this went on for what seemed like an eternity until I finally decided it was now or never and asked him to sign his name for me. And I’ve always had the feeling that he was waiting for me to not follow the crowd. But I’ll never know what would have happened had I done that.

  12. I have several Paul Newman stories. Here’s one: It happened when I was 15. My mom was driving the car and I was the passenger. She saw Paul Newman and swerved off the road because she was so excited!

  13. Thanks for sharing all these great stories! You can also send them to social@newmansownfoundation.org so that we can gather the memories.