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Barry Newman, who pushed a supercharged Dodge Challenger across the American West in The vanishing point and played a defense attorney on the NBC series Petrocelli, is dead. He was 92 years old.
Newman died May 11 at NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center, his wife Angela said. The Hollywood Reporter.
After appearing on Broadway and starring in The lawyer (1970), the Boston-born actor was ready for a change of pace when he was offered the role of a man tasked with hauling a car from Denver to San Francisco in the action-packed Fox film The vanishing point (1971), directed by Richard C. Sarafian.
“This was very unique,” he said She said. “I had just made this film about a lawyer, a Harvard graduate, and I thought it was a different kind of thing. The boy was the rebel, the anti-hero. I really enjoyed doing it.
Newman’s taciturn character, Kowalski, was a Vietnam vet, ex-stock car driver, and dishonorably discharged cop with nothing to lose. Hungry for amphetamines, he tries to drive a white 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 Magnum to his destination as fast as possible.
Vanishing Point was shot in eight weeks and has become an admired cult classic, with Steven Spielberg calling it one of his favorite films.
Lawyer Anthony Petrocelli was first introduced by Newman in The lawyer in a story loosely based on the infamous 1954 case in which Cleveland neurosurgeon Sam Sheppard was initially convicted of the brutal murder of his wife.
Four years later, Newman returned as the maverick lawyer on the telefilm Night games and then in the Arizona set Petrocelli which ran for two seasons, from September 1974 to March 1976.
More recently, Newman has appeared in films as Sylvester Stallone starring Daylight (1996), Bowfinger (1999), by Steven Soderbergh The Limeo (1999) and 40 days and 40 nights (2002).
Barry Foster Newman was born November 7, 1930. His father, Carl, ran the local outpost of The Latin Quarter nightclub. He is a graduate of Boston Latin School and Brandeis University, played saxophone and clarinet in the US Army Band, and studied acting with Lee Strasberg after giving up on becoming an anthropologist.
In 1957 he made his Broadway debut playing a jazz musician in the Herman Wouk play Way of Nature and a year later appeared with Alice Ghostley in Maybe Tuesdaywritten by Mel Tolkin and Lucille Kallen’s Your show of shows fame.
In 1964-1965, while playing Sheikh Orsini’s tough assistant director opposite Steve Lawrence in Budd Schulberg’s musical adaptation What makes Sammy run?he also played a young lawyer on the CBS daytime drama The edge of the night before being fired after an argument with a director. (His character was sent to a sanatorium.)
Newman had also appeared on stage at Agatha Christie’s The mousetraplike a gangster in Nice boy Floyd (1960) and in shows such as The Defenders, Naked City AND Be smart when it has topline The lawyerdirected and co-written by Sidney J. Furie.
The vanishing point it didn’t create much of a buzz in the US, but when it opened in London at the Leicester Square Theater, “people lined up around the block to see it,” he told Paul Rowlands in a 2019 interview. In England I was a hero, and in America I was just a guy picking up my bags at the airline terminal!
“It came out again in America after playing in Europe and people started to get into the movie. It became a cult film without me realizing it. To this day, I’m always asked to talk about it somewhere.
In the 1972 releases, Newman starred in Fear is the keythat like Vanishing Point, it also featured a thrilling car chase and the CIA thriller The Salzburg Connection.
His job also included shifts in the 1980s King crab and many other telefilms; movies Burning city (1979), Amy (1981) and Good advice (2001); and the series Los Angeles law, Murder, he wrote, The fallen boy AND The OC., where he played Professor Max Bloom.
Newman’s career was curtailed after he was diagnosed with vocal cord cancer in 2009, but he recently reunited with writer-director Furie to star in the independent film Looking for Anna (2022).