Why did Doc Hudson die?


We watch the Disney Cars movies a lot around here. There was a major character in the first movie named Doc Hudson, who was played by Paul Newman. As he passed away before the second movie came to be, Disney acknowledged that Doc also died and it is mentioned briefly in the movie. Hugo finally noticed this recently, and we had a conversation about it. 

Hugo first asked why Doc died a few weeks ago. Without explaining his connection to Paul Newman, I just said that he had gotten old and sick and then died. His father and I overheard him playing with his cars soon after.

Doc Hudson: “Sometimes I die.”

Car 1: “But why, Doc?”

Doc: “I get old and sick,” he explained patiently.

Something reminded me of it last night before Hugo went to bed. I wonder if he overheard us talking about it. At bedtime:

“Mommy, why did Doc Hudson die?”

“Well, you know how the part of Doc was played by an actor in real life? He was a very famous actor named Paul Newman.”

“Paul Newman,” Hugo repeated.

“Yes, well Paul Newman got very sick and died after Cars was made.”

So then I passed on some of my own beliefs for the first time, in a simple way. It seemed like a good time to do it and I didn’t want Hugo to start being afraid of death.

“After we die, we get born again as babies. But we don’t remember anything. I don’t remember, do you?”

“No. So Doc Hudson came back out of the water,” Hugo began.

“Out of the water?”

“Yes. That’s what happens when you die, you go into the water. And the person who was playing with him, Paul Newman, became a baby.”

Maybe that’s what happened, I can’t confirm or deny. I wonder if Hugo’s having any interesting conversations with his friends or teachers at school today.


3 thoughts on “Why did Doc Hudson die?

  1. Pingback: Preschool reflections on death and resurrection | Long Live Go

    • Thanks, Joe! I’m so glad I wrote about this, so I can remember how my son thought about important things as he grew. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work in your blog!


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