Don't binge-drink in my name, Newman tells students

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The Independent US

Paul Newman, the film star, has appealed to Princeton University to end a campus tradition in which students attempt to consume a beer an hour for 24 hours.

Paul Newman, the film star, has appealed to Princeton University to end a campus tradition in which students attempt to consume a beer an hour for 24 hours.

Newman's Day, celebrated on 24 April every year, derives its name from an apocryphal quote attributed to the actor: "Twenty-four beers in a case, 24 hours in a day. Coincidence? I think not." On Newman's Day, students have showed up for class inebriated or with beer in coffee mugs. Part of the event's challenge is to make it through classes.

Last week, Leo Nevas, Newman's lawyer, sent the university a letter calling for the tradition to stop. "Mr Newman is disturbed by the use of his name in conjunction with this alcohol-related event, and he would like to bring an end to this tradition," the university's newspaper quoted the letter as saying. The university said that it does not sanction the event.

In the run-up to the event, university officials have urged moderation. Campus religious groups placed advertisements in the campus newspaper, reading: "Think about it. Pray about it." The Rev Stephen White, the university's Episcopalian chaplain, said: "What we are opposed to is the way some people who engage in Newman's Day drinking degrade themselves."

Newman is said to be especially troubled by the association of his name with the day because his son, Scott Newman, died of a drug overdose in 1978. Newman founded a centre in his son's name to combat substance abuse. The university's student health board has urged faculty members to wear T-shirts opposing the event. The shirts read: "Celebrate Newman's Day 2004 ..." on the front, and "... by honouring Scott's memory" on the back.

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