Actor was always his own man

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WESTPORT, Conn. --- 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 U.S., staying with his wife of many years and -- long after he became bored with acting -- pursuing his dual passions of philanthropy and race cars.

Yet despite enormous success in both endeavors 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 after a long battle with cancer, publicist Jeff Sanderson said Saturday.

In May, Mr. Newman dropped plans to direct a fall production of Of Mice and Men at Connecticut's Westport Country Playhouse, citing unspecified health issues. The next month, a friend disclosed that the Ohio native was being treated for cancer.

But true to his fiercely private nature, Mr. 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, Mr. 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 films.

"There is a point where feelings go beyond words," Butch Cassidy and The Sting co-star Robert Redford said Saturday. "I have lost a real friend. My life -- and this country -- is better for his being in it."

Mr. Newman sometimes teamed with his wife and fellow Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward, with whom he had one of Hollywood's rare long-term marriages.

"I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?" he told Playboy magazine when asked whether he was tempted to stray.

They wed in 1958, around the same time they both appeared in The Long Hot Summer . Mr. Newman also directed her in several films, including Rachel, Rachel and The Glass Menagerie .

Mr. Newman was just as likely to play against his looks, becoming a favorite with critics for his convincing portrayals of rebels, tough guys and losers. New York Times critic Caryn James wrote after his turn as the town curmudgeon in 1995's Nobody's Fool that "you never stop to wonder how a guy as good-looking as Paul Newman ended up this way."

Mr. Newman had a soft spot for underdogs in real life, giving tens of millions to charities through his food company and setting up camps for severely ill children. Passionately opposed to the Vietnam War, and in favor of civil rights, he was so famously liberal that he ended up on President Nixon's "enemies list," one of the actor's proudest achievements, he liked to say.

He and Ms. Woodward bought an 18th century farmhouse in Westport, where they raised their three daughters, Elinor, Melissa and Clea. Mr. Newman had two daughters, Susan and Stephanie, and a son, Scott, from a previous marriage.

In December 1994, he told Newsweek magazine he had changed little with age.

"I'm not mellower, I'm not less angry, I'm not less self-critical, I'm not less tenacious," he said. "Maybe the best part is that your liver can't handle those beers at noon anymore."

FILMOGRAPHY

The Silver Chalice, 1954


Somebody Up There Likes Me, 1956


The Rack, 1956


The Helen Morgan Story, 1957


Until They Sail, 1957


The Long Hot Summer, 1958


The Left-Handed Gun, 1958


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1958


Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! 1958


The Young Philadelphians, 1959


From the Terrace, 1960


Exodus, 1960


The Hustler, 1961


Paris Blues, 1961


Sweet Bird of Youth, 1962


Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man, 1962


Hud, 1963


A New Kind of Love, 1963


The Prize, 1963


What a Way to Go, 1964


The Outrage, 1964


Lady L, 1965


Harper, 1966


Torn Curtain, 1966


Hombre, 1967


Cool Hand Luke, 1967


The Secret War of Harry Frigg, 1968


Rachel Rachel, (director) 1968


Winning, 1969


Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969


WUSA, 1970


Sometimes a Great Notion, 1971


Pocket Money, 1972


The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (director), 1972


The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, 1972


The Mackintosh Man, 1973


The Sting, 1973


The Towering Inferno, 1974


The Drowning Pool, 1975


Silent Movie, (cameo), 1976


Buffalo Bill and the Indians ... or Sitting Bull's History Lesson, 1976


Slap Shot, 1977


Quintet, 1979


When Time Ran Out, 1980


Fort Apache The Bronx, 1981


Absence of Malice, 1981


The Verdict, 1982


Harry and Son, 1984


The Color of Money, 1986


Fat Man and Little Boy, 1989


Mr. & Mrs. Bridge, 1990


The Hudsucker Proxy, 1994


Nobody's Fool, 1994


Twilight, 1998


Message in a Bottle, 1999


Where the Money Is, 2000


Road to Perdition, 2002


Our Town, 2003


Empire Falls, 2005


Cars (voice), 2006


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