Paul Newman, the singularly handsome actor with the ice-blue eyes who starred in such films as ``The Color of Money'' and ``Hud'' while pursuing his interests as a racecar driver, businessman and philanthropist, died yesterday at 83 at his home in
Newman received a diagnosis of cancer more than a year ago. A spokeswoman for Sunshine, Sachs and Associates on behalf of Newman's Own Foundation, confirmed the actor's death. She spoke in a telephone interview.
Paul Leonard Newman was born Jan. 26, 1925, in
His father was Cleveland-born of German-Jewish ancestry who became a prosperous businessman as a partner in the Newman-Stern sporting goods store.
Newman's mother was a Hungarian immigrant who arrived in
Shortly after his birth, the family moved from
Too slight to excel in high-school sports, Newman performed in stage plays. He had gained some experience from a children's program at the Cleveland Play House, which he joined at his mother's urging.
Newman enrolled at
Returning from World War II, he enrolled at
Casting about for another extracurricular activity, Newman won the role of Hildy Johnson in the Kenyon production of ``The Front Page.'' He appeared in nine more college plays before he graduated in 1949.
Newman's father wanted him to join the family business, but Newman forestalled a decision by landing a scholarship with a summer stock company in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. At summer's end, he moved to
In the spring of 1950, the young couple returned to
Bored and restless, he sold his stake in the sporting-goods business in 1951 and moved his wife and son to
He focused on directing but also appeared onstage in a student production, where his looks and magnetic presence impressed William Liebling, an agent in the audience. Liebling offered to help if Newman sought a professional acting career. In the summer of 1952, Newman moved his young family to
Success came so swiftly that he never returned to Yale to complete his degree. He won parts in live television dramas and before year's end was cast in ``Picnic,'' the Broadway play by William Inge that opened in 1953.
He made his Broadway debut at age 27 in ``Picnic,'' but soon abandoned the stage for a more lucrative film career. Newman had a face born for the movies.
Joanne Woodward, the understudy for two female roles, worked alongside Newman for more than a year. Both joined the Actors Studio to refine their skills, and they continued to see each other when they worked in
Shortly after their marriage, Woodward won the Best Actress Academy Award for her starring role in ``The Three Faces of Eve.''
Woodward never matched her husband's box-office draw. She cared little for
The couple returned to Broadway in late 2002 for a two-month revival of ``Our Town,'' produced by Westport Country Playhouse when Woodward was its artistic director. Newman, in the role of ``Stage Manager,'' hadn't performed on Broadway for almost 40 years.
Newman portrayed boxers, hustlers and cads in more than 60 films over six decades. He was the popular boxer Rocky Graziano in ``Somebody Up There Likes Me'' (1956), a drifter in ``The Long Hot Summer'' (1958) and ``Sweet Bird of Youth'' (1962), pool shark Eddie Felsen in ``The Hustler'' (1961) and its sequel ``The Color of Money'' (1986), an amoral rancher in ``Hud'' (1963) and bank robber in ``Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'' (1969).
Nominated nine times as an actor for an Academy Award, he won only once, for ``The Color of Money,'' which was directed by Martin Scorsese. His last nomination was for a supporting role in ``Road to Perdition,'' the 2002 movie starring Tom Hanks.
The Academy gave Newman two honorary statuettes: one for ``dedication to his craft'' in 1985 and, in 1993, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
``As an actor Newman always had narrow range, but through quiet persistence and channeled energy, he managed to expand the horizons of his talent to the point where, on some occasions, the mannered, gimmicky style of his early years gave way to a more mellow, balanced technique of underplaying,'' wrote Lawrence J. Quirk in a 1996 biography.
Reassessing the actor's body of work, Quirk concluded that many of Newman's most popular performances ``have not worn at all well in the intervening years.'' He cited ``Hud'' and ``Cool Hand Luke'' among the disappointments.
Newman never abandoned acting, but he found other pursuits that stirred his passions, beginning with auto-racing in his mid- 40s. After training for the 1969 race-car drama ``Winning,'' Newman began to race in earnest.
He won the highest honor for an amateur racer in 1976 with the President's Cup from the Sports Car Club of America. In his 50s, Newman turned professional and raced in events from Daytona to
An outspoken liberal, Newman joined a group of investors in 1995 to buy ``The Nation,'' the left-leaning magazine that boasts of its unprofitability.
Highly profitable is ``Newman's Own,'' the food-product company he started in 1982 with a salad dressing the actor concocted with Hotchner in
From the outset, Newman and Hotchner, an author, vowed to funnel their profits to charities. Their cumulative donations totaled $220 million by 2006. Among the beneficiaries are children who attend Newman's ``Hole in the Wall'' camps for youngsters coping with chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
In 1999, Newman and the chief executive officers of two dozen top
Newman's only son, Scott, died of a drug overdose in 1978. The
Newman is survived by his wife and five daughters: Susan and Stephanie from his first marriage, and Elinor Teresa, Melissa and Claire Olivia from his marriage to Woodward.