Dashingly handsome and possessed of an impish grin that communicated his enjoyment of his craft, Newman was equally adept at playing lovable rogues, as with his drunken parking-meter vandal in "Cool Hand Luke," unstable types (Hud Bannon in "Hud") and unflappable confidence men (Eddie Felson in "The Hustler). All of the personae were on display in his star turn opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the film adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" in 1958.
Newman starred in more than 50 films, including "The Rack," "The Long Hot Summer" (for which he was named Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival), "The Left-Handed Gun," "Exodus," "Sweet Bird of Youth," "The Hustler," "Paris Blues," "What a Way to Go," "Harper," Alfred Hitchcock's "Torn Curtain" and many more.
In 2003, Newman appeared in a Broadway theater revival of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town." He received his first Tony Award nomination for his performance. PBS and the cable network Showtime aired a taping of the production, and Newman was nominated for an Emmy Award, for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie.
In 2005, Newman was given an Emmy award, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild award for his performance in the mini series "Empire Falls," for which he also served as executive producer.
Newman also was recognized for his work behind the camera, earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture and a Golden Globe award for Best Director for "Rachel, Rachel," which he produced and directed, and which starred his wife, Joanne Woodward.
In May 2007, Newman told ABC News' "Good Morning America" that he had given up acting.
"I'm not able to work anymore as an actor at the level I would want to," he said. "You start to lose your memory, your confidence, your invention. So that's pretty much a closed book for me."
Newman cultivated passions outside acting, notably auto racing. He took home trophies from Le Mans and Daytona and was co-owner of an Indy car team.
During the filming of "The Long Hot Summer," Newman co-starred with Joanne Woodward, whom he knew from their work together in a Broadway production of "Picnic." The two fell in love, and after Newman's first wife agreed to give him a divorce, they married in 1958.
Unlike most Hollywood couples, Newman and Woodward never split. He once said, when asked how it was that they were able to stay true to one another, "Why fool around with hamburger when you have steak at home?"
A statement released today by Newman's spokesman quoted an unnamed friend of the actor remembering what it was like to watch him watch Woodward.
"No one in his audience was ever privy to the tenderness and pride Paul had for Joanne and her talent," the friend was quoted as saying. "Watching him on the set watching her, from his seat by the camera, was to see a man transformed: his brave face taken all unawares, his lips parted in amazement, his eyes brimming with tears that never fell. It was a brief window into a man in perpetual love."
In the 1980s Newman turned his attention to charity work. He started Newman's Own, a food company that he built from the ground up, with all of the proceeds going to charity -- more than $240 million to date. He also started "Hole-in-the-Wall Camps" for terminally ill children. The name for those camps came from the gangsters' hideout in his film, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."