When Paul Newman Dazzled Venice

6:00 AM PST 08/21/2012 by Gregg Kilday

Promoting 1963's "Hud" at the Venice Film Festival, the actor exhibited an effortless masculinity that had Italians swooning.

American stars go to the Venice Film Festival to test their wattage, and in 1963 no star burned brighter than Paul Newman. At age 38, he visited the Lido to show off Hud, Martin Ritt's drama in which he played a Texas bad boy. Remembers Barbara Steele, then a rising young actress who'd just completed a role in Federico Fellini's 8 ½, "I don't know how, but I ended up hanging out with Paul Newman, who was at the peak of his beauty. He was a Greek god, absolutely stunning. He was every Italian's dream of classical beauty." Newman was considered a shoo-in for the best actor prize, but when it went instead to Albert Finney for Tom Jones, Steele recalls: "It was quite shocking. Everyone thought Paul's winning was a given."

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