Did Paul Newman Really Eat 50 Hard-Boiled Eggs In Cool Hand Luke?

Paul Newman is a Hollywood legend who had the kind of successful and storied career many can only dream about. Per Reuters, the actor made more than 50 movies during his lifetime, starring along side the likes of Elizabeth Taylor in "Cat in a Hot Tin Roof," Robert Redford in "The Sting," and Tom Cruise in "The Color of Money." Newman worked with the best of them and also channeled his success into other endeavors, including the creation of Newman's Own food products, which donated $250 million in profits to charity. He was truly exceptional.

If you are a fan of Newman's movies, you are probably familiar with the much talked about scene in the classic film "Cool Hand Luke," where Newman's character, Luke Jackson, eats 50 hard-boiled eggs. Just to recap, George Kennedy who plays Dragline, the chain gang convict chief, shoves hard-boiled eggs in Neman's mouth to help him win a bet as Kennedy's character screams, "All right now, get mad at them damned eggs. Eat it there, boy. Chew on it. Gnaw on it," (via Youtube). The scene either causes your competitive nature to kick in, or your gag reflex to go into overdrive. If you are like us, it is probably the latter. But did the Academy Award-winning actor really eat that many eggs? It's okay if you are turning green at the mere thought. We're not far behind.

Paul Newman did not eat 50 eggs

According to Mental Floss, Newman did not eat 50 hard-boiled eggs while filming the scene in "Cool Hand Luke." In fact, depending on the source, Newman either ate zero or eight eggs. The actor is said to have told a reporter, "I never swallowed an egg," when quizzed about the amount. However, his co-star, Kennedy, shared in his book, "Trust Me: A Memoir," that it could have been as many as eight eggs before noting that Newman was throwing up in between takes. 

Over the years, this scene has led others to unwisely take up the challenge, but this is not a stunt you want to try. Per Newsweek, in 2019, a man in India attempted to eat 50 eggs in an effort to win the equivalent of just over $28 but died while eating his 42nd egg. Has anyone ever eaten 50 hard-boiled eggs? We know this question keeps you up at night. Well, Film School Rejects revealed that professional competitive eater, Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas was able to gobble down 65 hard-boiled eggs in six minutes and 40 seconds and per Major League Eating, Nick Wehry ate 50 hard-boiled eggs in three minutes and four seconds in 2021.