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 a long battle with lung cancer. He was surrounded by his family and close friends.
As an actor, Newman got his start in theater and on television during the 1950s, and went on to become one of the world's most enduring and popular film stars. He was nominated for Academy Awards 10 times, winning one Oscar and two honorary ones, and had major roles in more than 50 movies.
Newman sometimes teamed with his wife and fellow Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward, with whom he had one of Hollywood's rare long-term marriages.
They wed in 1958.
With his handsome face and piercing blue eyes, Newman was a heartthrob just as likely to play against his looks, becoming a favorite with critics for his convincing portrayals of rebels, tough guys and losers.
A screen legend by his mid-40s, he won his first competitive Oscar in 1987 for "The Color of Money," a reprise of the role of pool shark "Fast Eddie" Felson, whom Newman portrayed in the 1961 film "The Hustler."
He won an honorary Oscar in 1986 "in recognition of his many and memorable compelling screen performances and for his personal integrity and dedication to his craft." In 1994, he won a third Oscar, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, for his charitable work.
His most recent academy nod was a supporting actor nomination for the 2002 film "Road to Perdition." One of Newman's nominations was as a producer; the other nine were in acting categories.
As he passed his 80th birthday, he remained in demand, winning an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the 2005 HBO drama "Empire Falls" and providing the voice of a crusty 1951 car in the 2006 Disney-Pixar hit, "Cars."
In the 1970s, Newman became fascinated with auto racing, a sport he studied when he starred in the 1969 film, "Winning." After turning professional in 1977, Newman and his driving team made strong showings in several major races, including fifth place in Daytona in 1977 and second place in the Le Mans in 1979.
For the last 26 years, Newman's racing team — now known as Newman/Haas/Lanigan and part of the IndyCar Series — has won 107 races and eight series championships.
His pure joy at winning a pole position or winning a race exemplified the spirit he brought to his life and to all those that knew him.
Newman was reluctant to give interviews and usually refused to sign autographs because he found the majesty of the act offensive. He also claimed that he never read reviews of his movies.
In 1982, Newman and his neighbor, A.E. Hotchner, started a company to market Newman's original oil-and-vinegar dressing. Newman's Own, which began as a joke, grew into a multimillion-dollar business selling popcorn, salad dressing, spaghetti sauce and other foods. All of the company's profits are donated to charities. By 2007, the company had donated more than $175 million.
In 1988, Newman founded a camp in N.E. Connecticut for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. He went on to establish similar camps in several other states and in Europe.
He and Woodward bought an 18th century farmhouse in Westport, where they raised their three daughters Elinor, Melissa and Clea.
Newman had two daughters, Susan and Stephanie, and a son, Scott, from a previous marriage to Jacqueline Witte. After his only son's death, Newman established the Scott Newman Foundation to finance the production of anti-drug films for children.
Newman's breakthrough was enabled by tragedy: James Dean, scheduled to star as the disfigured boxer in a television adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's "The Battler," died in a car crash in 1955. His role was taken by Newman, then a little-known performer.
Newman started in movies the year before, in "The Silver Chalice," a costume film he so despised that he took out an ad in Variety to apologize. By 1958, he had won the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for the shiftless Ben Quick in "The Long Hot Summer."
In December 1994, about a month before his 70th birthday, 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," he said.
Newman is survived by his wife, five children, two grandsons and his older brother Arthur.
"Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" is the theme song from his very popular and successful movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid".
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