Barry Newman, who was behind the wheel of a “super-charged” Dodge Challenger in The Vanishing Point, a 1971 film featuring several breakneck police chases, and later starred as a defense attorney on the NBC series Petrocelli, has died.
He was 92 and died May 11 in a New York hospital, with his death confirmed by social media posts from friends. No cause has been established.
Newman had appeared on Broadway and the film The Lawyer (1970) (which later spun off into the Petrocelli tv series) when he was offered The Vanishing Point. In the film, his drug-addicted character was tasked with delivering a car from Colorado to California, with the stipulation that if he could do it in 15 hours, his meth purchase would be free.
The film was directed by Richard C. Sarafian and became a cult classic, as Cleavon Little kept up a steady stream of radio chatter on the epic journey. No less than Steven Spielberg called it one of his favorite films.
Newman’s film resume also includes Sylvester Stallone’s Daylight, Steven Soderbergh’s The Limey, and 40 Days and 40 Nights. He was also in the films City on Fire, Amy, and Good Advice, among other films.
In television, he appeared on L.A. Law, Murder, She Wrote, The Fall Guy and The O.C., the latter where he played Professor Max Bloom.
Diagnosed with vocal-cord cancer in 2009, Newman stepped back from acting, but did return to star in the independent film Finding Hannah in 2022.
He is survived by his wife.