In 1967 LIFE photographer Mark Kauffman followed Paul Newman around for what turned out to be the the cover story of the Oct. 18, 1968 issue. The occasion of the story was the release of Rachel, Rachel, which was the directorial debut for Newman and a passion project for both he and his wife Joanne Woodward, who starred in the ambitious drama, a portrait of a 35-year-old single schoolteacher.

Kaufman’s shoot resulted in a bonanza of publicity for a movie that was not overly commercial. While LIFE’s gushing cover story hailed the movie as a “triumph,” the magazine’s review of Rachel, Rachel, which ran in an issue two weeks prior, regarded the film as an honorable misfire, and suggested that it only got made because Newman was hot off the success of Cool Hand Luke: “They apparently encountered enormous difficulties in obtaining the relatively modest backing they required, and it was not until Miss Woodward’s husband put his plentiful clout behind it by agreeing to direct it that they could go ahead.”

We know now that Rachel, Rachel, whatever its merits, did not leave a major mark on popular culture. (That is, unless its title decades later somehow inspired Rochelle, Rochelle, the fictional art-house movie that was a running gag in the TV show Seinfeld).

But viewed more than a half-century later, the photos of Mark Kauffman tell a story that has little to do with Rachel, Rachel. The story is actually bigger. It is, in so many words:

This is what a movie star looks like.

Kaufman’s photos show this because Newman was so generous in giving Kauffman time and access, not just on the movie set but as Newman enjoyed such pastimes as fishing, playing pool and visiting the garage that was working on a race car of his. Whether Newman was chatting with mechanics or posing with a trophy fish, he always looked like a movie star—perhaps even more so when he was sharing the frame with everyday humans.

(For another example of star power, check another great LIFE photoshoot, this one of Robert Redford, who would be Newman’s co-star in the 1969 classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.)

In recent years a fair amount of digital ink has been spilled on the topic of “Where have all the movie stars gone” (See articles such as this one and this one and this one). The perception that we don’t have movie stars like we used to is in part the result of the changing nature of media, but the appearance of these stories also has to do with the penchant for click-bait headlines, because of course we still have movie stars. If you don’t believe it, ask Margot Robbie. Or at least her agent.

But maybe the point is this: when Paul Newman was in his prime, and even though his IMDB page has plenty of commercial misfires on it, no one would have considered asking where all the movie stars had gone.

Paul Newman leans against a tree in the Florida Keys during the filming of his directorial debut, the movie ‘Rachel Rachel,’ Florida, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman n the Florida Keys during the filming of his directorial debut, the movie ‘Rachel Rachel,’ Florida, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life PIcture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman, holding monocular on his fishing trip in Florida Keys, Florida, United States, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman on a fishing trip in the Florida Keys, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman in the Florida Keys with guide Jake Muller (left) and friend Mike Hyman, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman on a Key West fishing trip, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman fishing in the Florida Keys, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman during his fishing trip in Florida Keys, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman during a fishing trip in the Florida Keys, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman at an event, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward during the filming of his movie “Rachel, Rachel,” 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman directing a child actor during the filming of “Rachel, Rachel,” 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman during the filming of “Rachel, Rachel,” 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman during the filming of his directorial debut “Rachel, Rachel,” 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman during the filming of his directorial debut “Rachel, Rachel,” 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman during the filming of his directorial debut “Rachel, Rachel,” 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman during the filming of his directorial debut “Rachel, Rachel,” 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman (center) with men working on his racing car, a Volkswagen bug, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman spoke with a mechanic about his racing car, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman talked with a mechanic about his racing car, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Leonard Newman playing pool, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

Paul Newman playing pool, 1967.

Mark Kauffman/Life Picture Collection/Shutterstock

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