I was saddened to read of Paul Newman’s death yesterday.
Reading blogs and news sites this morning, a lot of folks have their Paul Newman story to share, here’s mine…
Back in September 1993, I was working as Studio Manager of a small advertising agency located on the 23rd floor of the Cargenie Hall Tower, a skyscraper on 57th & 7th in Manhattan. The agency’s main office was on the 23rd floor, but they also had some room on the 22nd floor.
I got on the elevator on 22, pushed “23” and turned my head. There were 3 people in the elevator. Two people were talking to each other, while the gorgeous, bright-blue eyed man standing in the middle of them was quiet. He and I made eye contact, and I did a double take. He gave me a broad, friendly smile and a little nod just as the door was opening on 23. I stepped out and said to the agency’s receptionist, “I think Paul Newman just smiled at me.” But since we were in the elevator for such a short amount of time, and it was years since he had been in the public eye I wasn’t 100% sure. And frankly, I had always pictured Paul Newman as being taller.
That night Paul Newman did his famous, “Where the hell are the singing cats?” bit on the premiere of the David Letterman show on CBS. It so happens that Letterman’s CBS studio is about 4 blocks away from Carnegie Hall Tower, and the man I saw sitting in Letterman’s audience that night was most definitely the same man who smiled at me hours earlier.
Anyone who has lived or worked in New York City has a million similar “I saw so-and-so in an elevator” stories. I’m just grateful that Paul Newman was in one of mine.