Paul Newman Says: Research. Register. Vote!

During his 50-plus years in Westport, Paul Newman was everywhere in town.

We saw him in supermarkets, shops and restaurants. He picked up hitchhikers. When I played summer soccer, his helicopter landed on the Coleytown Junior High School field (we scattered first). “Hi boys!” he said as he hopped out — wearing shorts, carrying a briefcase — and walked around the corner to his home.

Paul Newman, in a photo project promoting community involvement. (Photo by Robert Satter)

The actor/philanthropist/race car driver/all-around great guy died in 2008. But this Saturday, he returns to Main Street.

Once again, he’ll do something great — for his town and his country.

Newman’s daughter Melissa is a giver in her own right. For 20 yeas, she volunteered at a woman’s prison.

She was casual friends with a social worker there. For 2 years, he said he had a present for her. Finally — a decade or so ago — he handed her the gift.

It was a framed poster of her father. Looking straight at the camera — and pointing sternly — the young actor urged all “Young Citizens for Johnson” to register to vote.

Melissa had never seen that poster. “It was one of the best presents I ever got,” she says. She hung it on her kitchen wall. It’s been there ever since.

Melissa always wanted to share the poster’s message — register and vote! — with a broader audience. Now she’s got her chance.

In these polarized times, she wants the poster to be non-partisan. Besides, LBJ is no longer on the ballot.

So Melissa enlisted her friend Miggs Burroughs to help. The talented graphic designer changed the message to “Research. Register. Vote.”

Last weekend, Melissa handed out copies of the poster on Main Street, near Brooks Corner. She’ll be there this Saturday (August 29) too, at 12;30 p.m. — complete with mask and hand sanitizer.

“I’m literally a poster child for voting,” she laughs.

She hopes everyone — whatever their political affiliation — will pick up a flyer, reminding themselves to register and vote.

And why not? It’s one more Paul Newman/Westport story to add to our list.

Melissa Newman last weekend, with her poster on Main Street near Elm.

16 responses to “Paul Newman Says: Research. Register. Vote!

  1. Susan Iseman

    Fabulous- I want one!

  2. Annette Norton


  3. The Newmans – what a gift to this town. I ran into Paul through friends Ralph and Betty Alwang, up at their house on Frazier Lane, back in 1972. I walked into their kitchen and surprise, surprise — there was Paul Newman, having a bagel. I was 19 years old. I struggled to keep it together, stuttered and stammered something and he said “How you doin. Have a bagel, kid.” and offered the basket. And the Newmans have been offering us all baskets ever since. God bless them all.

    • Pegeen Gaherin

      What Jeff Seaver said
      The Newman were great Neighbor’s to all Westporters.
      They were so un-affected by their fame and so humble.
      And happily married a rarity in the Hollywood Scene.
      Paul Newman became a true elder citizen in the ancient Greek concept

  4. *sorry for the typo – Alswang – another magical family Westport was blessed with.

  5. Kudos to Melissa (and Miggs). Is there perhaps somewhere online where copies can be downloaded? There are a couple of clubs Debbie belongs to (in CA) that I’m sure would love to have these in their voter outreach efforts. Thanks

  6. Jack Whittle

    Wonderful, non-partisan message we can all support – get informed, understand the candidates and where they stand, and vote! And not just in presidential elections . . .

  7. Pegeen Gaherin

    What Jeff Seaver said
    The Newman were great Neighbor’s to all Westporters.
    They were so on affected by their fame and so humble, Paul Newman became a true elder citizen in the ancient Greek concept

  8. Fabulous job Melissa and Miggs and all involved. How blessed we are to be living in a town with such amazing and involved neighbors. Suzanne and I are very grateful.

  9. I have suggested before that the town should name the bridge on North Ave. around the corner from the Newman’s home, The Paul Newman Bridge. This would be a deserved tribute.

  10. Thanks to Melissa’s generous spirit, she shared the updated image with the Library to include in our next magazine that will arrive in Westport mailboxes around Labor Day. The poster will be full-size and perforated, with a thoughtful note from Melissa on the back. The magazine is also always downloadable on the library’s website:, under the “About” tab. Note: the September/October issue is dedicated to civic engagement so the Newman poster is a perfect fit. Thank you, Melissa!

  11. That’s a terrific story. Great idea as well

  12. Very cool story! How can I get a clean digital image of PN to post on social media?

  13. How do I get one of those?

    Steve Clarke