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February 24, 2019

30 Romantic Photographs of “Hollywood’s Golden Couple” Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in the 1960s

Even in old, black-and-white or color photographs, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s love is as visible and vibrant as if they’re standing right in front of you. Considered by many “Hollywood’s golden couple,” the Academy Award-winning actors’ union spanned five decades, until Newman’s death in 2008. Since her husband’s death, Joanne has stayed out of the spotlight, and the couple’s three daughters fiercely guard the privacy she has fought to maintain.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward first met back in 1953, both ducking into the air-conditioned office of their agent to escape the heat. They were two young, attractive stars trying to make it in Hollywood and had a fair amount in common and a fair amount of chemistry, too. However, Paul was married, so that was that. They met again on the set of a Broadway production of Picnic and discovered that they genuinely liked each other as people and co-workers.

Hollywood brought them together again in 1957 when they were both cast in The Long, Hot Summer. The film starred Paul as Ben Quick a drifter who wanders into a small Mississippi town. His father is well-known in the city, and not in a good way, but Quick decides to stay—in no small part because of Clara Varner (played by Joanne). When Varner’s parents try to push the two together, Clara and Ben are too stubborn to see that they are perfect for each other. When sparks eventually begin to fly between them, a jealous rival causes a tragedy that could tear them apart forever.

As they filmed the intense scenes, the two stars fell in love in real life and it’s hard to miss on screen. As Clara and Ben come to develop feelings for each other, Joanne and Paul give each other looks that are beyond the skill of any actor. It’s clear those feelings are 100% real—and it’s hard not be moved by them.

When the film was done, Newman got divorced, and the two stars turned their friendship into romance. They were married just a few months later. While many Hollywood romances crash and burn, Joanne and Paul remained happily married for 50 years. “People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked,” Paul once said.

Things may not have always been perfect. The New York Times reported the couple admitted their union was turbulent at times. Newman was rumored to have had an affair, as well as a taste for beer (despite being an anti-drug and alcohol activist due to his son’s tragic death from overdose in 1978). But by most accounts, Newman and Woodward were the picture of a happy husband and wife.



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