Paul Newman dies
- Bang Showbiz
- 28 September 2008
Screen legend Paul Newman has died aged 83 after losing his battle with cancer
Paul Newman has died.
The Hollywood legend passed away at his farmhouse, located near Westport, Connecticut, on Friday (26.09.08) after losing his battle with cancer.
In a statement, his spokesman Jeff Sanderson revealed Newman, who was 83, had been surrounded by friends and family, including his wife of 50 years Joanne Woodward and five daughters, at the time of his death.
A statement from his children said: "Paul Newman played many unforgettable roles. But the ones for which he was proudest never had top billing on the marquee - devoted husband, loving father, adoring grandfather and dedicated philanthropist."
Only last month, it was claimed the screen icon - who had reportedly been having chemotherapy to treat terminal lung cancer - had told his family he wanted to die at home and not in hospital after being informed he only had "a few weeks to live".
Newman - famed for his piercing blue eyes and rugged good looks - is widely considered to be one of the greatest actors in Hollywood history, having starred in several classic movies, including 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid', 'The Sting', 'The Hustler' and 'Cool Hand Luke'.
Throughout his career, he was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and he won the Best Actor Oscar in 1987 for his role as pool shark Fast Eddie Felson in 'The Color of Money'.
He retired from acting in May 2007, saying, "I'm not able to work anymore at the level that I would want to. You start to lose your memory, you start to lose your confidence and you start to lose your invention."
As well as his Best Actor success, Newman also received an Academy Award in 1986 for his "many and memorable and compelling screen performances" and was given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 1994 Oscars for his charity work.
In 1982, with writer A.E. Hotchner, he founded the food company Newman's Own, which had a policy that all proceeds from sales after tax would be donated to charity. Donations to good causes, picked by Newman himself, have exceeded $250 million.
In 1988, the actor and his wife set up the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp - located in Ashford, Connecticut, and named after the gang in 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' - which allows seriously ill children to enjoy outdoor activities throughout the summer for free.
There are now camps situated across the US, Ireland, France and Israel.
Newman became obsessed with motor racing after playing a race driver in the 1969 film 'Winning'. He started competing in amateur championships and won his first national title in 1976, turning professional a year later.
In 1979, he competed in the world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race finishing second and he went on to found his own racing team, Newman/Haas Racing, with Carl Haas in 1983.
Since his death, tributes have flooded in for Newman, with Julia Roberts - who was on the board of the Hole in the Wall Gang - describing him as her "hero".
His 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' co-star Robert Redford said: "There is a point where feelings go beyond words. I have lost a real friend. My life - and America - is better for his being in it."
'American Beauty' actor Kevin Spacey said: "Paul Newman was a great, humble giant. He used his success to help others and did it without wanting a lot of credit. He should be an example to everyone in the acting profession."
Newman is survived by his wife and their three grown-up daughters Elinor 'Nell' Teresa, Melissa 'Lissy' Stewart, and Claire 'Clea' Olivia.
He also has two daughters Susan and Stephanie from his first marriage to Jackie Witte - who he divorced in 1957 - and several grandchildren.
Newman and Witte's son Scott died in 1978 of an accidental overdose of alcohol and Valium. After his son's death, Newman established the Scott Newman Foundation to finance the production of anti-drug films and to stop youths from experimenting with substances.