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Screen legend Paul Newman has died

September 27, 2008 |  9:09 am

A_real_movie_star_and_a_real_mensch Paul Newman, the quiet, classy star who, despite those bright blue eyes and leading man looks, managed to carve out a career as quirky as his legendary sense of humor, has died. It's typical of Newman, who lived his life far from the glare and craziness of the Hollywood spotlight, that the cancer which ended his life never became more than a vague rumor. Here's more about Newman from our obit, by Lynn Smith:

Stunningly handsome, Newman maintained his superstar status while protecting himself from its corrupting influences through nearly 100 Broadway, television and movie roles. As an actor and director, he evolved into Hollywood's elder statesman, admired as much offscreen for his quiet generosity, unconventional business sense, race car daring, political activism and enduring marriage to actress Joanne Woodward.

Annoyed by the public's fascination with his resemblance to a Roman statue, particularly his Windex-blue eyes, Newman often chose offbeat character roles. In the 1950s and '60s, he helped define the American anti-hero and became identified with the charming misfits, cads and con men in film classics such as "The Hustler," "Hud," "Cool Hand Luke" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

Newman's poker-game look in "The Sting" -- cunning, watchful, removed, amused, confident, alert -- summed up his power as a person and actor, said Stewart Stern, a screenwriter and longtime friend.

"You never see the whole deck, there's always some card somewhere he may or may not play," Stern said. "Maybe he doesn't even have it."

Newman claimed his success came less from natural talent than from hard work, luck and the tenacity of a terrier.

We have a photo gallery,  pix from some of his films, and from his racing days. There's a sweet note about Newman at the website of nonprofit company Newman's Own, and at the site of Hole in the Wall Camps, which he founded as a place for children with terrible illnesses to find a bit of relief from the grueling round of treatments and hospitals. And AP has put together some comments from Newman's colleagues.

That's Newman in the photo, with his wife, Joanne Woodward, and their daughters in 1974.

-- Veronique de Turenne

Photo: AP