WESTPORT, Conn., Sept 28 – Paul Newman never much cared for what he once called the “rubbish” of Hollywood, choosing to live in a quiet community on the opposite corner of the US map, staying with his wife of many years and – long after he became bored with acting – pursuing his dual passions of philanthropy and race cars.
And yet despite enormous success in both endeavours and a vile distaste for celebrity, the Oscar-winning actor never lost the aura of a towering Hollywood movie star, turning in roles later in life that carried all the blue-eyed, heartthrob cool of his anti-hero performances in “Hud,” “Cool Hand Luke” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
The 10-time Academy Award nominee died Friday at age 83, surrounded by family and close friends at his Westport farmhouse following a long battle with cancer, publicist Jeff Sanderson said yesterday.
In May, Newman dropped plans to direct a fall production of “Of Mice and Men” at Connecticut’s Westport Country Playhouse, citing unspecified health issues. The following month, a friend disclosed that he was being treated for cancer and Martha Stewart, also a friend, posted photos on her Web site of Newman looking gaunt at a charity luncheon.
But true to his fiercely private nature, Newman remained cagey about his condition, reacting to reports that he had lung cancer with a statement saying only that he was “doing nicely.”
As an actor, Newman got his start in theater and on television during the 1950s, and went on to become a legend held in awe by his peers. He won one Oscar and took home two honorary ones, and had major roles in more than 50 motion pictures, including “Exodus,” “Butch Cassidy,” “The Verdict,” “The Sting” and “Absence of Malice.” MORE