For Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Daughter Clea, Graduation—even the Lemonade—is All in the Family
updated 06/11/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 06/11/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT
How does a small private school lasso Butch Cassidy into delivering its graduation address? First, it snares the daughter—and the wife. Both the actor's youngest child, Clea Olivia Newman, 24, and his spouse, Joanne Woodward, 60, who has been working sporadically toward a B.A. for more than 10 years, were among the 286 members of the class of 1990 waiting on the Bronxville, N.Y., campus to collect their degrees.
Newman, who lives with Woodward in Westport, Conn., appeared nervous as he began his oration, but his opening words earned cheers from the mostly female class. The previous night, he said, he dreamed that a woman had asked, "How dare you accept this invitation to give the commencement address when you are merely hanging on to the coattails of the accomplishments of your wife?" From there, he gave a sometimes meandering—but perfectly inflected—discourse on the value of community.
Sarah Lawrence students are not easily impressed by money (their annual fees: a sky-high $21,160) or fame (Barbara Walters is an alum; retailing scion Marshall Field VI, to whom Clea was once engaged, is enrolled), and some acted blasé about their guest. "Mostly everyone was a little worried that the whole paparazzi scene was going to get out of hand," said one newly minted grad. Besides, the students' first speaker choices were Woody Allen and writer Alice Walker. Unfazed, the Newmans repaired to a post-ceremony reception and kept the event a family affair to the last drop. Among the refreshments served? Newman's Own lemonade of course.