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."


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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