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Paul Newman Battling Cancer - Possibly LC

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Paul Newman has responded obliquely to a number of published reports that say he is gravely ill with cancer, while a longtime business associate and friend of the star has confirmed that the 83-year-old screen hero is battling the disease.

While not specifying the type of cancer, writer A.E. Hotchner, a founding partner in Newman's Own salad dressing company, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that Newman first informed him about the health battle 18 months ago.

On Tuesday, Newman's spokesman in Los Angeles, Jeff Sanderson, told Reuters and other media outlets: "Newman says he's doing nicely."

Without elaborating, Sanderson added: "He says he's doing nicely, and this is the statement I wanted to share with you, and that's what I have. I spoke to his office [in Connecticut]. This is the statement that came directly from him."

According to numerous but unconfirmed media accounts, Newman is undergoing outpatient treatment for lung cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.

A spokeswoman for the medical facility told Reuters she had no information about Newman's being a patient there.

Possibly helping to stir the current concerns about Newman's condition was a photo that appeared last Friday on Martha Stewart's blog, in which, standing beside the domestic expert at a fundraiser for the Newman-launched Hole in the Wall Camp Gang, for kids battling severe diseases, the handsome leading man looked like a shadow of his former self.

Born in Cleveland and raised in the Midwest, Newman was a Broadway actor before making his first movie in 1954, the ancient costume drama The Silver Chalice, which he has called one of the worst movies of all time.

A Screen Giant

He is much better known for a progression of hits in the later '50s and continuing through the '90s, including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, The Sting and 1986's The Color of Money, which brought him his Oscar.

And all of these movies showed off his beautiful blue eyes to their best advantage.

One recent role was his distinctive voice only, as "Doc" Hudson in Disney-Pixar's 2006 Cars.

Last year he announced his retirement from acting, saying on Good Morning America, "I'm not able to work anymore ... at the level that I would want to."

Last month, citing unspecified health issues, he withdrew as director of a stage production of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" at Connecticut's Westport Country Playhouse – whose artistic director is Newman's wife of 50 years, The Three Faces of Eve Oscar-winning actress Joanne Woodward.

Besides acting and directing, Newman has two great passions that have long driven him: racecar driving and doing charitable acts. Through his food company Newman's Own – whose motto is, "Shameless exploitation for the common good" – the star and his Newman’s Own Foundation have "donated all profits and royalties after taxes for educational and charitable purposes," according to the Newman's Own Web site.

In all, that has amounted to more than "$200 million to thousands of charities worldwide since l982."

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I just have to comment on something that has nothing to do with lung cancer but I was blown away. Imagine selling salad dressing, etc for 25 years and donating 200 million dollars to charity!!! It takes such a special person to do something like that, and to be so low key about it. I wish him much luck in fighting whatever disease he ends up having.

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I also admire Paul Newman very much. Besides the philanthrophy (and really great food products, I might add!) he and Joanne Woodward have always seemed to lead meaningful lives.

For such internationally known movie stars, they seem like people I would enjoy as next door neighbors.

I wish him well. I've seen photos of him recently in which he looked very, very thin and tired, and wondered if something might be wrong.

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A friend and business partner of movie veteran Paul Newman has fired back at reports that quote him confirming the actor is battling cancer.

A.E. Hotchner claims he was misquoted in an Associated Press article, in which he reportedly said Newman is battling "a form of cancer and he's dealing with it."

The angry writer says, "I saw him (Newman) last week and he seemed fine. I have no knowledge of any diagnosis."

"The AP misquoted me. I have no knowledge of Mr. Newman being treated for any illness."

Associated Press bosses are standing by their story.

Newman's health hit the headlines again at the beginning of the week when the Los Angeles Times newspaper reported the 83-year-old had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. A representative for the actor refuses to confirm or deny the cancer reports, stating only that Newman is "doing nicely."

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