A conversation with Susan Kendall Newman, 33, daughter of actor Paul Newman and executive director of the Scott Newman Foundation. The anti-drug organization is named after her brother, who died in 1978 of a drug and alcohol overdose. It is financed in part by profits from sales of her father's salad dressing, spaghetti sauce and popcorn. Q: What is the foundation's purpose? A: The foundation's main objective is to get the entertainment (business) and all other areas of the media to depict any substance-related issue--tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs or misused prescription drugs--in a way that does not glamorize, in a way that is accurate, in a way that does not lead children to believe that this is a kind of rite-of-passage phenomenon. We are trying to sensitize those people to the incredibly important and powerful role-modeling potential that they possess.
We (the Newman family) made a very conscious decision to stay within our own level of expertise, which is communication, film making. We looked at what was available in the marketplace, and we laughed about the terrible propaganda-type, scare-tactic-level films that still exist in the marketplace. What's hard for the educators to recognize is the fact that these children were raised on "Star Wars." They know production value. For the millions of children who've been smoking dope for years and are still pulling off Bs in school, you have no credibility.