David Letterman pays tribute to Paul Newman

Dave says when he was in high school and college, he liked to drink beer. So did his friends. But then his friends stopped, and Dave stilled enjoyed it. He saw Paul Newman in an interview say that he drank a case of beer a day. It was enough to inspire Dave to keep drinking beer. Dave first met Paul Newman years ago at a race in Arizona. Paul was a great driver and Dave realized that Paul Newman was not only a great actor and a great driver, but he knew too how to live his life, and he spent much of his life helping other people. Over the course of his life, Paul Newman raised and gave $250 million to charity. That's a quarter of a billion dollars. Paul believed what you need to do as a human is to take care of your fellow humans. His "Hole in the Wall Gang Camps" is a thing to behold. It takes a humanitarian genius to think of such a thing and then make it come to fruition.

1982: Paul Newman co-founded "Newman's Own," a line of food products which started with salad dressing and now includes pasta sauce, popcorn, lemonade, salsa, cookies, and wine. Everything he made from "Newman's Own" went right to charity.

1988: Paul Newman co-founded the "Hole in the Wall Gang" camps; residential summer camps for seriously ill children. The camps serve over 13,000 children every year, free of charge.

Paul once had a VW Rabbit. He had his "race goon buddies" put in a huge Porsche engine into it. It was a real "Screamer." If Paul needed a head of lettuce to go with his own salad dressing, he'd hop into his VW Rabbit and rumble and roar down to the market.

He phoned Dave one day and wanted to know if Dave would like a Volvo Station Wagon equipped with a huge explosive 302 V8 engine. He offered to build one for Dave. How could you say "no" to Paul Newman? Paul asked, "And do you want a puffer on that?" Of course you would want a puffer! Dave would take out that station wagon and whenever he would stop at a light, the engine would shake the entire car. People would step back in fear. Others would plead for a look under the hood. Many would take photos of the engine to show off to friends. Dave called the engine "like an atomic furnace." His Volvo Station Wagon could and would hit 170 mph. One night while driving it on the Merritt Parkway, Dave's girlfriend asked, "Do you smell something?" The only thing Dave smelled was incredible power. And then about a mile later the Son of a Gun burst into flames. As Dave puts it, "The puffer had let go and caught fire." Dave would have the thing repaired and repaired and repaired and repaired because . . . . only Paul Newman and Dave had one of these things. Dave still laughs when he recalls looking under the car at the exhaust system; it would always be a glow of bright orange heat.

And Paul was always very nice to us here at the Late Show.

We then watch a video montage of Mr. Newman's visits to the Late Show.

"Where the hell are the singing Cats?"

Paul Newman: "We were lucky to have the friendship with this great man."

Written by Michael Z.McIntee of the Late Show

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