Cool Hand Newman

Paul Newman, the Academy-Award winning superstar who personified cool as the anti-hero of such films as ”Hud,” ”Cool Hand Luke” and ”The Color of Money” — and as an activist, race car driver and popcorn impresario — has died. He was 83.

Newman died Friday after a long battle with cancer at his farmhouse near Westport, publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was surrounded by his family and close friends.

With his strong, classically 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. ”I was always a character actor,” he once said. ”I just looked like Little Red Riding Hood.”

Newman had a soft spot for underdogs in real life, giving tens of millions to charities through his food company and setting up camps for severely ill children. Passionately opposed to the Vietnam War, and in favor of civil rights, he was so famously liberal that he ended up on President Nixon’s ”enemies list,” one of the actor’s proudest achievements, he liked to say.

One Reply to “Cool Hand Newman”

  1. Photograph: Terry O'Neill/Getty
    Paul Newman on the set of John Huston’s espionage film The Mackintosh Man at Pinewood Studios, England, 1973

    Cool Hand LukeAs the convict in “Cool Hand Luke” (1967). “Mr. Newman is excellent,” Bosley Crowther wrote in The Times, “at the top of his sometime erratic form in the role of this warped and alienated loner whose destiny it is to lose.” Photo: Warner Brothers

    With Robert Redford in With Robert Redford in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969).

    As Henry Gondorff in As Henry Gondorff in “The Sting” (1973), which won Oscars for best picture and for its director, George Roy Hill. About the actor, the film critic Pauline Kael wrote: “His likableness is infectious; nobody should ever be asked not to like Paul Newman.” Photo: Universal Pictures

    Mr. Newman as the crime boss John Rooney in “Road to Perdition” (2002), with Tom Hanks. It was his last onscreen role in a major theatrical release. (He supplied the voice of the veteran race car Doc in the Pixar animated film “Cars” in 2006.) Photo: Francois Duhamel/Dreamworks Pictures”

    Paul Newman with Joanne Woodward in 2002 outside the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Conn. In an industry in which long marriages might be defined as those that last beyond the first year and the first infidelity, Mr. Newman and Ms. Woodward’s was striking for its endurance. Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

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