Arthur Sigmund Newman, Jr.

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Arthur Sigmund Newman, Jr.

Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Death: December 07, 2020 (96)
Immediate Family:

Son of Arthur Sigmund Newman, Sr and Theresa Newman
Husband of Private
Ex-husband of Private
Father of Private
Brother of Paul Newman

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Arthur Sigmund Newman, Jr.

Arthur Newman liked to tell his friends he was the luckiest guy in the world.

He did everything he wanted to do and got to meet everyone he wanted to meet in his various roles as a film executive, businessman, local politician and philanthropist.

“It seemed to me it wasn’t just luck that he had,” friend and neighbor Fred Knight said of Newman, who died Dec. 7 of complications from sepsis in California.

“He loved people,” Knight said. “He had a lust for life. He was happy and was enthusiastic about everything he did, and he did a lot.”

Newman, 96, had a home in Santa Fe with his wife Patty for 13 years. They supported a number of local organizations including the Santa Fe Opera, New Mexico School for the Arts and the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.

Newman was introduced to New Mexico as a teen when his father brought him and his younger brother — the late Paul Newman, the acclaimed film and stage actor — to the area on a road trip in 1940.

“The moniker for this state is so very true for so many people, including Arthur — the Land of Enchantment,” said Patty Newman, who married Arthur in the early 1970s. “He loved New Mexico and Santa Fe. We would go to La Fonda every Christmas Eve.”

Newman was born in Cleveland in 1924. His father, Arthur Newman Sr., ran the Newman Stern Co., a sporting goods business, where both the younger Arthur and Paul worked. The experience fostered an interest in business for Arthur Newman, who earned a degree in business administration from the University of Michigan after World War II.

During the war, he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps, as that branch was known at the time, working in radar communications.

His role was so top secret, Patty Newman said, that he could not tell his parents what he was doing.

Because he was color blind, Newman could not join flight school or be assigned to flight missions, she said.

“Maybe it turned out to be lucky he was color blind,” Patty Newman said. “If he had been on a flight crew, he probably would have been shot down — or worse.”

After the war and following years in the business sector, Newman joined his brother Paul Newman in the movie business. Arthur Newman worked in an array of capacities, including production manager, on such Paul Newman films as Cool Hand Luke (1967), Pocket Money (1972) and Slap Shot (1977).

Because he so closely resembled his younger brother, Arthur Newman sometimes stood in for him as a photo double.

“He and Paul were close their entire lives,” Patty Newman said. “People used to call them the Irish twins because they did everything together.”

Paul Newman died in 2008.

Arthur and Patty Newman retired in the 1990s to California, and Arthur Newman served on the Rancho Mirage City Council and helped facilitate the building of the community’s first public library.

Arthur and Patty Newman also worked with Newman’s Own Foundation, started by Paul, to help distribute millions of dollars to nonprofits around the world, including in New Mexico.

Charles MacKay, former general manager of the Santa Fe Opera, said Arthur Newman took great pride and delight in ensuring Native American youth were introduced to the opera by underwriting dress rehearsals they could attend.

“He was pleased with how fascinated they were coming to this beautiful place and listening to the beautiful music,” MacKay said.

He recalled Newman as a man who liked to tell funny stories and jokes with a “twinkle in his eye, which denoted the gentle, kind spirit he had.”

Newman’s love of the arts stemmed from a childhood interest in playing music, though he never learned how to read it, Patty Newman said. His mother often took him and Paul to operas in Cleveland when they were young.

Among other gigs, he played the drums in a military swing band while he was stationed in England during the war and later did the same with the U.S. Army Air Corps band in the states.

Patty Newman said her husband enjoyed so many different things in life that she dubbed him “a man for all reasons.”

“He was a man who loved everything: he was a strong ice skater, skier, horseman, he played lots of golf,” she said. “He was a musician, businessman, film-production man, civic leader and philanthropist.”

She said the family plans to celebrate his life in both Rancho Mirage and Santa Fe “if this pandemic ever ends."

Arthur Newman, a film production executive, former Rancho Mirage city councilmember and philanthropist, died Monday at age 96 at Eisenhower Health following complications from sepsis.

Newman and his wife, Patty, lived in the desert for nearly four decades, while also spending time in Lake Arrowhead and Santa Fe. Newman served on the Rancho Mirage City Council from 1993 to 1998 and was one of the main advocates in the development of the city library.

Newman was born Jan. 22, 1924, in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and served in World War II along with his brother, Paul — who would go on to become an Academy Award-winning actor. Arthur Newman served in the U.S. Army Air Force and was assigned to a highly secretive radar project. He was later stationed in England.

While Arthur Newman was in Europe, Paul was a member of a Navy torpedo squadron stationed in the Pacific.

The siblings were born one year, three days and 10 hours apart — a statistic often quoted by his brother, Arthur Newman told the Desert Sun in 2010, two years after Paul Newman died.

"We were raised literally as twins," Arthur Newman said at the time. "Naturally, we were very close. I still talk about him in the present tense. He's still with me."

After completing his military service, Arthur Newman attended the University of Michigan, where he received a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1948. He became an actor and production manager of his brother Paul's production companies. He worked on films including "Slap Shot," "Winning," "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean," and "Cool Hand Luke," which his brother starred in.

He was a life member of the Director's Guild of America.

Rancho Mirage City Council 1993-98

After retirement, Arthur Newman was appointed to the Rancho Mirage City Council in 1993 by a 3-1 vote to fill a 13-month term after Councilmember Jeffrey Bleaman resigned. He was chosen from a field of five candidates at a time of intense political infighting on the council and within the city itself. At the time, Rancho Mirage was marking just two decades as an incorporated city and the "playground of the presidents" had fewer than 10,000 residents.

Newman was heralded as someone who would bring cohesiveness to the council as Bleaman was known as a fierce political figure who often pushed against the pro-business council majority.

Newman was seen as an ally to pro-business Councilmembers Sybil Jaffy and Jeanne Parrish and the three were often referred to as the "Gang of Three." The trio often was on opposite sides of issues from Mayor Alan Seman and Councilwoman Anita Richmond.

Newman said his goals for the council were cohesiveness, harmony, fiscal conservancy and controlled growth. Newman opposed a push to build a new city hall, which many residents viewed as an unnecessary expenditure of city funds. He worked to put a measure on the ballot that gave voters an advisory voice on the proposal for a new civic center; the voters rejected the idea.

In 1994, Newman won reelection to the council. At the time the city council was still known for its "vitriolic infighting that has brought city government to a virtual standstill," according to a Desert Sun editorial from the time. The editorial noted that Newman's appointment in 1993 did bring a brief moment of harmony, though the city was still in the grips of what the paper called "political paralysis."

Paul Newman made two appearances to help his brother get elected to the city council in 1994.

In April 1998, Arthur Newman retired from the city council to much fanfare. Rancho Mirage resident Robert Apple wrote a letter to the Desert Sun praising Newman's time on council.

"When (Newman) joined the council, it was on the verge of creating an architectural and financial disaster," Apple wrote, referring to the civic center the city had wanted to build.

"Arthur Newman led the fight and with a Herculean effort put the measure on a ballot. It was soundly defeated and an impractical fiasco was adverted," Apple added. "Arthur Newman was a breath of clean fresh air and his management and analytical skills will be sorely missed."

Philanthropy and volunteer service

Newman served on the board of directors of The Joslyn Center in Palm Desert, which provides programs and services to seniors in the Coachella Valley.

Ron Celona, who was program director at the center during that time, recalled telling Newman about his background in theater and mentioning that many of Josyln's clients had backgrounds in the entertainment world. "Wouldn't it be fun to put them back on stage?" Celona remembered telling Newman.

In short order, Celona started the Joslyn Players and Newman "spearheaded the rest of the board to get a better stage ... buy curtains ... get lighting. Joslyn Players turned out to be a huge success," Celona recalled.

Celona eventually became the artistic director of Joslyn Players. He would go on to be the founding artistic director of the CV Rep theater, now in Cathedral City.

"CV Rep would not be here today without the Joslyn Players ... and that would not have happened without Arthur Newman," Celona said.

"Arthur was kind. He listened. I think that's what made him a good leader. And he had a warmth for each person — you could be in a room of 200 people and Arthur had a warmth for everyone he greeted."

“It’s a tremendous loss for us because the Newmans have been very active in this valley," said Micki James, who along with her late husband, television personality Dennis James, were long-time friends of his. James noted the Newmans were long-time supporters of fundraising efforts for cerebral palsy, a pet project of Dennis James', even appearing on telethons for the efforts.

"He looked very much like his brother, but they were only like a year apart," Micki James said, "But they were very, very close. (Paul) used to come out and visit his brother her quite often.”

After Newman stepped down from the Joslyn board, the center named its theater after him.

Newman had a second theater named after him at the Neurovitality Center in Palm Springs, which provides rehabilitation to stroke survivors. The center's theater provided stroke survivors the opportunity to act in musicals and plays.

In 2004, Paul Newman surprised his brother with a star in the McCallum Theatre courtyard, presented before 100 people for Arthur's 80th birthday.

"It was a total surprise to Arthur," Ted Giatas, president and CEO of the McCallum at the time, told The Desert Sun in 2008. "Arthur and Paul were very, very close their entire lives."

Paul Newman accompanied his brother and sister-in-law to Jackie Lee Houston's first Palm Springs International Film Festival Closing Night Party that same weekend. His friend, Jack Jones of La Quinta, was singing when he saw the Newman brothers sitting stage side.

"I looked down and in the middle of a song I stopped," recalled Jones. "I said, 'Arthur, I didn't know you had a brother.' Paul couldn't stop laughing."

Arthur and Patty Newman have been major contributors to Palm Springs Opera Guild of the Desert and the Opera Guild’s annual Opera in the Park. They have been annual sponsors of CV Rep's youth outreach productions. Other organizations they have given time and funds to include the Palm Springs Art Museum and Act for MS, as well as the Coachella Valley Wellness Foundation, chaired by Patty Newman.

Both worked with Newman’s Own Foundation, started by Paul, which has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to nonprofit organizations worldwide since the early 1980s.

“Newman’s Own Foundation is a huge supporter of so many charities in the valley,” said Ann Greer, a longtime desert public relations professional. “Arthur and Patty together, Newman’s Own, well, that was just part of what they did.”

One such desert charity was Act for MS, which provides programs and services that help Coachella Valley residents with multiple sclerosis. She added that the Newmans were a perfect couple for philanthropy.

“Arthur was always charming and he had a wonderful sense of humor,” Greer said. “Patty is so bright and astute. She would always ask the best questions, the most penetrating questions, to make sure the money went as far as possible for good causes. ... And of course, the Joslyn Center, where they named the theater after him.”

In addition to his wife, Patty, Newman is survived by his daughter, Lori; five nieces; two granddaughters; and sister-in-law, Joanne Woodward.

Burial will be private, but a celebration of life will be held once the COVID-19 pandemic abates.

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Arthur Sigmund Newman, Jr.'s Timeline

January 22, 1924
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
December 7, 2020
Age 96