Paul Newman, actor, director, race car driver, liberal activist and philanthropist, died at 83. He died Friday at his farmhouse near Westport, Conn., following a long battle with cancer.
Over a half-century long career, Newman acted in 59 movies and received 10 Oscar nominations. He won the best actor Academy Award in 1987 for his role as a pool hustler in â€œThe Color of Money,â€ and two honorary Oscars. To many Jewish viewers, Newmanâ€™s most stirring role was as Haganah leader Ari Ben Canaan in the 1960 film â€œExodus,â€ depicting the struggle for Israeli independence. Director Otto Preminger reportedly picked the classically handsome, piercingly blue-eyed Newman for the lead role because he wanted an actor of Jewish background, but one who didnâ€™t â€œlookâ€ Jewish. Paul Leonard Newman was born in the Shaker Heights suburb of Cleveland in 1925, the son of Arthur and Theresa Newman. His father, the owner of a prosperous sporting goods store, was Jewish, and his mother Catholic. Both were descendants of East European immigrants. His mother later became a Christian Scientist, but Newman always identified himself as a Jew because, he said, â€œIt is more of a challenge.â€ Among Newmanâ€™s other most memorable films were â€œHud,â€ â€œCool Hand Luke,â€ â€œButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,â€ â€œThe Verdict,â€ â€œThe Stingâ€ and â€œAbsence of Malice.â€ Newman gave millions to charities through his food company and set up camps for severely ill children. He was a passionate civil rights and anti-Vietnam war activist, and always expressed his pride that he had made President Nixonâ€™s â€œenemies list.â€ He is survived by his second wife, actress Joanne Woodward, five children and two grandsons.
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