I was saddened to learn that early this morning actor and screen legend, Paul Newman, died in his farmhouse near Westport Conn.. He was 83.
The actor, who’d had a long battle with cancer, died surrounded by his family and close friends.
Newman’s long career on the stage, screen and television included nine Oscar nominations and a win for The Color of Money. He truly was one of his generations greatest leading men. Newman remained in demand as an actor from the 1950′s through the 2000′s. His final on screen role was as a conflicted mob boss in Road to Perdition.
In later years his interests turned to philanthropy and racing cars.
Here’s a brief bio of his life and acting career from TVguide.com
Newman was born in 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio, and grew up as the son of a successful sporting goods store owner in Shaker Heights. He acted in grade school and high school plays, then joined the Navy, serving in the Pacific in World War II. After his discharge he enrolled at Kenyon College, then spent a year at the Yale Drama School. He finally headed to New York, where he attended the famed New York Actors Studio.
He married his first wife, Jackie, in 1950. They had three children — Scott, Susan and Stephanie — before divorcing in 1958. In the same year Newman met and fell in love with his future wife, Joanne Woodward, when they filmed the The Long, Hot Summer. They married in Las Vegas, and went on to have three daughters, Elinor, Melissa and Claire.
The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in January. He was often asked how a Hollywood marriage could persevere so successfully.
“I have steak at home,” he once explained. “Why should I go out for hamburger?”
In the decade after his marriage he made some of the most important films of his career. Newman’s rebels meshed perfectly with the mood of the 1960s, when he made such box office and critical hits such as The Hustler, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
In 1968 he directed his first feature, Rachel, Rachel. The film earned a Best Picture Oscar nomination and a Best Actress nomination for Woodward.
After his only son, Scott, died of an accidental overdose in 1978, Newman started the Scott Newman Center for drug abuse prevention. He later started The Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, an organization for terminally ill children that took its name from Butch Cassidy.
Perhaps the most recognizable effort by the Newman clan is their food company Newman’s Own, which produces all-natural food, with proceeds going to charity.
An avid and passionate race car driver, he became co-owner of Newman-Haas racing in 1982.
He earned his Academy Award for his portrayal of The Hustler’s Fast Eddie Felson, now middle-aged, in The Color of Money.
After a public appearance in which Newman looked weak and gaunt, family friend A.E. Hotchner confirmed in June that Newman had a form of cancer, but said the actor was “dealing with it nicely.” More recent reports have said the actor decided to end treatments so he could die peacefully at home.