WESTPORT - (AP) - Paul Newman, the Oscar-winning superstar who personified cool as the anti-hero of such films as "Hud," "Cool Hand Luke" and "The Color of Money" - followed by a second act as an activist, race car driver and popcorn impresario - has died. He was 83.
Newman died Friday at his farmhouse near Westport following along battle with cancer, publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He wassurrounded by his family and close friends.
In May, Newman dropped plans to direct a fall production of "OfMice and Men" at Connecticut's Westport Country Playhouse, citingunspecified health issues. The following month, a friend disclosedthat he was being treated for cancer and Martha Stewart, also afriend, posted photos on her Web site of Newman looking gaunt at acharity luncheon.
But true to his fiercely private nature, Newman remained cageyabout his condition, reacting to reports that he had lung cancerwith a statement saying only that he was "doing nicely."
As an actor, Newman got his start in theater and on televisionduring the 1950s, and went on to become one of the world's mostenduring and popular film stars, a legend held in awe by his peers.He was nominated for Academy Awards 10 times, winning one Oscar andtwo honorary ones, and had major roles in more than 50 motionpictures, including "Exodus," "Butch Cassidy and the SundanceKid," "The Verdict," "The Sting" and "Absence of Malice."
Newman worked with some of the greatest directors of the pasthalf century, from Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston to RobertAltman, Martin Scorsese and the Coen brothers. His co-starsincluded Elizabeth Taylor, Lauren Bacall, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanksand, most famously, Robert Redford, his sidekick in "ButchCassidy" and "The Sting."
"There is a point where feelings go beyond words," Redfordsaid Saturday. "I have lost a real friend. My life - and thiscountry - is better for his being in it."
In 1982, Newman and his Westport neighbor, writer A.E. Hotchner,started a company to market Newman's original oil-and-vinegardressing. Newman's Own, which began as a joke, grew into amultimillion-dollar business selling popcorn, salad dressing,spaghetti sauce and other foods. All of the company's profits aredonated to charities. By 2007, the company had donated more than$175 million, according to its Web site.
He sometimes teamed with his wife and fellow Oscar winner,Joanne Woodward, with whom he had one of Hollywood's rare long-termmarriages. "I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?"Newman told Playboy magazine when asked if he was tempted to stray.They wed in 1958, around the same time they both appeared in "TheLong Hot Summer." Newman also directed her in several films,including "Rachel, Rachel" and "The Glass Menagerie."
He and Woodward later bought an 18th century farmhouse in Westport,where they raised their three daughters, Elinor "Nell," Melissaand Clea.
"Our father was a rare symbol of selfless humility, the last toacknowledge what he was doing was special," his daughters said ina written statement. "Intensely private, he quietly succeededbeyond measure in impacting the lives of so many with hisgenerosity."
Westport residents react to the passing of Paul Newman