Robert Redford Remembers His Co-Star, Friend

The "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" co-star says goodbye.

ByABC News
September 29, 2008, 3:55 PM

Sept. 29, 2008— -- "This was a man who lived a life that really meant something and will for some time to come," Robert Redford said about his late friend and co-star, Paul Newman.

Hollywood legend Newman died of lung cancer at the age of 83 on Friday, Sept. 26, 2008.

In an interview with ABC News, Redford spoke about the depth of his personal friendship with Paul Newman, which took root on the set of the film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

"It was just that connection of playing those characters and the fun of it that really began the relationship," Redford said. "And then once the film started, once we went forward, we then discovered other similarities that just multiplied over time, a common ground that we both had between us, interests and so forth, and differences."

Redford, a relative unknown at the time compared to the established Newman, was not director George Roy Hill's choice for the role of "the Sundance Kid." But Newman pushed for Redford.

"He said, 'I want to work with an actor,'" Redford recalled. "And that was very complimentary to me, because that's, I think, how we both saw our profession, that acting was about craft and we took it seriously."

Both actors began their careers in the theater and crossed over to film.

Newman was nominated 10 times for an Academy Award, and was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1986 "in recognition of his many and memorable compelling screen performances and for his personal integrity and dedication to his craft." He also took home an Academy Award win for his performance the following year in "The Color of Money."

While their connection as characters on screen in "Butch Cassidy" and "The Sting" brought them together, their friendship off-screen became stronger through the years.

Both actors lived in Connecticut for some time, only a mile apart, Redford said. Their families and children, a priority for both stars, became close and their social and political commitments overlapped.

Newman and Redford both took on philanthropic work. In 1982, Newman started the company Newman's Own, selling original salad dressing and other foods. He donated all of the profits to charity.