Nell Newman, daughter of actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, was honored at a Sierra Club gala April 19 for founding Newman’s Own Organics, a division of Newman’s Own, a philanthropic food company started by her father. She was given a Distinguished Environmentalist Award, presented to her by Jeff Corey, an Angeles Chapter member who is also an actor, and who starred 32 years ago with her father in the movie, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
Both Newman’s Own and the organics division give away after-tax profits to charitable and environmental causes. Newman’s snack foods are manufactured in ways not harmful to the environment.
While in town for the event, Nell Newman stayed in Malibu as a guest of Lou and Page Adler who live on La Costa Beach, and surfed local waters. Lou Adler is an icon in the record producing industry.
According to Newman, the Newman organizations have raised “$100 million or so” for charities.
Newman, frustrated with environmental organizations she was involved with, decided to help out in other ways.
“[I thought to myself], ‘Damn it, I’m going to start my own organization,’ ” she said.
Newman convinced her father to help her launch Newman’s Own Organics in 1993, pushing for environmentally healthy ways to produce food.
Newman attributes her interest in environmentalism partly to her fascination with birds as a little girl.
“[The] concept of extinction was difficult to understand as a child,” said the blue-eyed activist, as she described a time when her mother tried to explain to her why there were no more Dodo birds.
“To me, you’re voting with your money if you buy organic,” said Newman, who had her blood tested once and found it laced with PCBs (environmental toxins) and by-products of the pesticides DDT and chlordane.
Newman, who hopes her organic company will some day become as large as her fathers, said the most difficult aspect of her work is being in the “public eye.”
“Sourcing” ingredients for the company’s products, which come from all over the world, is also a difficult task .