Paul Newman, the famous actor whose blue eyes have lit up both the silver screen and the grocery aisle, died in his Westport, Connecticut home yesterday of cancer at 83. He starred in nearly 60 films and was at the forefront of a class of actors that made the transition from the studio system to becoming independent superstars on their own. The legendary actor was almost equally known for his pursuits off screen from political activism to race car driving to his longstanding dedication to philanthropy.
Newman's signature role was alongside Robert Redford in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," one of the highest-grossing films of all time when adjusted for inflation. He was a ten-time Oscar nominee that was finally able to take one home in 1986 for "The Color of Money." Born and raised in suburban Ohio, his acting career launched in New York where he began on Broadway after getting his Master's in Acting from Yale.
Newman attributed a great deal of success to "Newman's Luck" and spent much of his life trying to even the playing field for those less fortunate. All of the $200 million-plus in profits from his Newman's Own line of food and beverages have gone to charity. He also started Hole in Wall camps, places "where kids could escape the fear, pain and isolation of their conditions, kick back, and raise a little hell."
He is survived by his wife of over fifty years, fellow Oscar winner Joanne Woodward, and their three children, as well as two from a previous marriage. He was the oldest driver ever to win a sanctioned auto race and considered one of his proudest achievements to have once landed as #19 on Richard Nixon's enemies list.