Scott Newman (actor)

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Scott Newman
Alan Scott Newman

(1950-09-23)September 23, 1950
DiedNovember 20, 1978(1978-11-20) (aged 28)
Cause of deathBarbiturate overdose
OccupationActor, stuntman
Years active1973–1977
Parent(s)Paul Newman
Jackie Witte
RelativesNell Newman (half-sister)
Melissa Newman (half-sister)

Alan Scott Newman (September 23, 1950 – November 20, 1978) was an American film and television actor and stuntman whose most prominent roles were in The Towering Inferno and Breakheart Pass. He was the only son of Academy Award-winning actor Paul Newman. After Scott Newman's death from a drug overdose in 1978, his father established the Scott Newman Center, which is dedicated to preventing drug abuse through education.[1]

Early life[edit]

Newman was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Paul Newman and his first wife, Jackie Witte. When Scott was still a young boy with two younger sisters, Susan and Stephanie, his father moved to California to further his career, leaving his family in New York City. By 1958, his parents had divorced and his father had married Joanne Woodward. They settled in Westport, Connecticut during the late 1960s, where Scott attended Staples High School briefly. Scott attended expensive private schools from some of which he was expelled for bad behavior.[2][dead link]

Acting career[edit]

By the late 1960s, Scott had dropped out of college and started to take jobs as a stuntman in his father's films, making over five hundred parachute jumps to become a certified instructor.[2] He also took on menial jobs and refused to ask his father for financial help.[2] In the early 1970s, his father used his influence to initiate an acting career for his son, and arranged a part for him in The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), starring Robert Redford. At the time, Scott stated, "I'm not taking any acting help from my father. I want my work to stand on its own merit." He had started to drink heavily, and was arrested for minor alcohol-related offenses. He also assaulted a police officer, kicking him in the head in a squad car after being arrested for vandalizing a school bus while drunk.[2] Newman's father paid the resulting $1000 fine.

Newman later played an acrophobic firefighter in The Towering Inferno (1974), in which his father co-starred. Although they had no dialog together because Scott's scenes were with Steve McQueen, both Newmans can be seen in the film's finale. Paul's character is on the steps with Faye Dunaway, while Scott is one of the two firemen carrying a man on a stretcher down the plaza steps to California Street at the Bank of America building in San Francisco. Newman also played small parts in TV series during 1975, such as Marcus Welby, M.D., Harry O., and S.W.A.T.'. During the same year, he also appeared in the Charles Bronson film Breakheart Pass.[3]

Newman subsequently appeared in the 1977 film Fraternity Row, which was to be his last appearance. His alcoholism became more severe, and by 1978 he was sleeping on friends' floors and working as a laborer. He also tried his hand at cabaret singing in small clubs, billing himself as William Scott.[2] Around this time, he confided to family friend A. E. Hotchner, "It's hell being his son, you know ... I don't have his blue eyes. I don't have his talent. I don't have his luck. I don't have anything ... that's me."[2]


He suffered a motorcycle accident in the fall of 1978, and was taking painkillers to ease the discomfort of his injuries. He also accepted an offer of psychiatric help, paid for by his father.[2] However, in Los Angeles on the night of November 19, he took a fatal dose of valium with alcohol and other drugs.[2][4] His father told Hotchner: "There's nothing you can say that will repair my guilt about Scott. It will be with me as long as I live."[2]

Scott Newman Center[edit]

In 1980, Paul Newman established the Scott Newman Center, dedicated to helping healthcare professionals and teachers educate children about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.[1] The organization also founded the Rowdy Ridge Gang Camp, a network of summer camps for families dealing with problems associated with drug abuse and alcoholism.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
1974 The Towering Inferno Young Fireman
1975 The Great Waldo Pepper Duke
1975 Breakheart Pass Rafferty
1977 Fraternity Row Chunk Cherry (final film role)


  1. ^ a b "Scott Newman Center". Scott Newman Center. Archived from the original on January 25, 1999. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Watson, Roland; Costello, Miles; Fleming, Sam (February 21, 2010). "A.E. Hotchner, "Paul Newman: the bad father", extracted from his book Paul and Me". London, UK: The Sunday Times.
  3. ^ "Scott Newman profile". IMDb. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  4. ^ "Milestones, December 4, 1978". Time Magazine. Time Inc. 4 December 1978. Archived from the original on 18 December 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  5. ^ "Rowdy Ridge Gang Camp". Rowdy Ridge. Archived from the original on 23 January 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2011.

External links[edit]