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Paul Newman once disappointed a fan because he was so bad at pool

Paul Newman has made some of the best movies ever, but he wasn't all that good when it came to pool, causing some real disappointment among his audience.

Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke

Plenty of people idolized Paul Newman, and they were right to do so. To put it frankly, Paul Newman was one of the best actors to ever live, and we were lucky to get the films we were. If you saw him play a round of pool though, you might not have been so impressed.

The man himself once told Gene Shalit that a fan of the sports movies Hustler struggled with learning his prowess with a cute was for show. “I was shooting a couple off racks at a disco in Los Angeles, and I stepped up to the bar to have a beer,” Newman recalled.

“This kid stepped up and said, ‘Mr Newman, I watched The Hustler four times, and I just watched you play pool in there, and it’s one of the biggest disappointments of my life!'” Ouch. Even making the best movies can’t protect you from critics.

Newman thought the young person was going to cry. At least they didn’t get that upset, so the star’s talents weren’t completely wretched. In The Hustler, Newman portrays a shark who makes a move on a champion pool player.

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Newman’s character has some real skills, leading to some great tension in the thriller movie. Like any well-made filmmaking about sport, the depiction of the activity itself intertwined with good character work creates a portrait that allows us to understand both the sport and the protagonist.

Director Robert Rossen accomplishes that, in no small part due to Newman’s talents. Sadly, only convincing on the screen, it seems.

Check out our lists of the best action movies and best thriller series for more top-tier storytelling, and keep our new movies list handy as well.