From the first time that I saw it (around the age of 9) until I-don’t-know-when (college sometime), if anyone asked me about my favorite movie, I answered confidantly and resoundingly, “The Sting!” The nose-tap became a gesture as common and natural as a head nod. In high school, I had few academic honors (very few), but my speech on The Sting was selected for the “Speech Meet,” at which I proudly orated praises of this film about two studly con men in front of the whole school. It bothered me not-at-all that these guys were basically “bad guys.” Loyalty mattered more than anything else, as they took the master gangster himself for all that he had. When Paul Newman, after feigning drunkenness for a couple hours, lays down four jacks to Robert Shaw’s four nines, proving himself the better cheater, the smirk on Newman’s face is just about as good as cinema ever gets. Newman, it turns out, was a truly good man, not only a loyal one. Nearly fifteen years ago at an IndyCar race at Laguna Seca, CA, I got to walk up to him, though I wasn’t able to obtain an autograph or a handshake. It struck me then how old and frail this guy was, but he hung on quite a bit longer. Now he’s gone, and it’s one of those rare occasions that one has to acknowledge and praise an actor who made cinema better than it would have been without him.