Paul Newman mum on cancer reports

June 11, 2008 12:39:40 PM PDT
Paul Newman, responding to unconfirmed reports that he is ill with lung cancer, has issued a statement that he is "doing nicely."

Newman's spokesman, Jeff Sanderson, issued a one-line statement late Tuesday.

Artistic directors of Connecticut's Westport Country Playhouse cited unspecified health issues when they announced last month that the 83-year-old screen legend would not direct "Of Mice and Men" this fall.

Newman appeared to have lost weight when he was photographed at the Indianapolis 500 auto race last month. Martha Stewart, in an entry dated June 6, posted a photo on her blog of herself with the actor, who looked thin, at a luncheon to benefit the Hole in the Wall Gang camps for critically ill children. (The Hole in the Wall Gang was led by Newman's affable outlaw character, Butch, in the 1969 film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.")

Two friends said Tuesday that Newman appeared to be doing well.

"I think he's feeling quite well," said actor James Naughton, who spoke to Newman on Monday night. "As far as I can tell he's doing very well."

Newman had an infection over the winter, but seems to have that under control, Naughton said. He was lively at this month's Hole in the Wall Gang camp fundraiser, he said.

Michael Brockman, Newman's racing team partner, said Newman told him recently that he wants to get back into his race car for a test run and possibly another competition. His last race was last fall, he said.

"I think he's doing better than he was," Brockman said, noting that Newman had regained most of the weight he had lost.

"I think he looks great," said Brockman, who saw Newman last weekend. "I wish I looked that good."

Brockman called Newman "one of the best guys I ever met."

"He's just a regular guy," Brockman said. "He's humble."

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