PAUL NEWMAN’S lasting impact in Hollywood (and Washington) was more than evident as the famous and celebrated expressed their deep sadness over his passing yesterday.

He was 83.

Two time costar ROBERT REDFORD said in a statement, “I have lost a real friend. My life – and this country – is better for his being in it.”

The pair, who were both adored extensively in their heyday, worked together on the films BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID (1969) – as well as the OSCAR winning BEST PICTURE of 1973, THE STING.

As a testament to their ongoing friendship, ROBERT REDFORD gave PAUL a dented engineless PORSCHE as a joke for his birthday one year. PAUL repaid the favour by having the car crushed and sent back to him.

Genius OSCAR winning director MARTIN SCORSESE, who directed PAUL to his eminently deserved ACADEMY AWARD, recalls the “precious” memories he possesses: “It’s a great loss in so many ways.”

“The history of movies without Paul Newman? Unthinkable. His presence, his beauty, his physical eloquence, the emotional complexity he could conjure up and transmit through his acting in so many movies….”

“Where would we be without him?”

“In From The Terrace or The Hustler or Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid or The Veridct or Nobody’s Fool, to name just a few pictures that come to mind, he’s more than iconic. In those movies and many, many others, he created characters that are lasting and durable.”

“His powerful eloquence, his consummate sense of craft – so consummate that you didn’t see any effort up there on the screen – set a new standard.”

“But in addition to being a great actor – the greatest really – he was also such a fine, caring man. I will miss him greatly.”

ELIZABETH TAYLOR, PAUL’S costar in the classic CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, stated: “I loved that man with all my heart. He was goodness and kindness and pure integrity.”

JULIA ROBERTS remembered PAUL as more than just an actor.

“He was my hero,” she remarked.

JULIA is on the board of PAUL’S HOLE IN THE WALL GANG. It funds camp programs for children with serious illnesses.

JULIA had recently attended an event for the charity with PAUL’S wife, actor JOANNE WOODWARD.

TOM HANKS, who starred with him in ROAD TO PERDITION, had this to say: “Paul Newman told me his hotel room in Chicago was the YMCA, which was not hard to imagine.”

“He considered himself just another member of the acting company, who would call his wife during breaks and confess to being self conscious on the first day of shooting.”

“But he was Paul Newman and could not mask the fact that he was simply – and elegantly – an extraordinary artist and man.”

“How lucky we all have been.”

TIM ROBBINS and his partner SUSAN SARANDON both had the exquisite privilege of working with PAUL.

TIM said: “The world has lost an angel. He was always a hero of mine both as an actor and as a man. It was an honour to have known his wonderful spirit, to act with him, to laugh with him and to sit in the passenger seat while he drove 100 mph with mischief in his eyes.”

SUSAN stated: “Paul Newman was a class act – smart, sexy, generous and kind. He was committed equally to justice and pranks. He was something you don’t hear mentioned often these days: a good man. He taught me to appreciate the home grown tomato, championship badminton and chamber music. He will be missed.”

SAM MENDES, who directed PAUL in his OSCAR nominated role in ROAD TO PERDITION, called him “Extraordinary. The thing I remember most about him was his total lack of ego.”

JOHN CUSACK acted with PAUL in FAT MAN & LITTLE BOY: “I worked with him in Mexico for about five months. I would send him my films and he would say he screened them with a big bag of popcorn. He’d send me letters telling me what he thought. I never told him. But I pretty much framed every one.”

EVA MARIE SAINT, his co-star in the 1960 movie EXODUS, remarked, “Yes, his eyes were that blue and that beautiful. His legacy as a humanitarian for children around the world is unmatchable.”

ED ASNER who worked with PAUL on FORT APACHE, THE BRONX said, “One thing I remember when we were rehearsing: We’re walking together and here he is New York with his spiked up blond hair, the shades, the red checked mackinaw – and he tried to pass as Mr. Average Joe, expecting that no one would think twice of looking at him. I thought it was the funniest goddamn thing in the world.”

SENATOR HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON and former PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON also acknowledged PAUL’S good works and tremendous decency.

“Paul was an American icon, philanthropist and champion for children. We will miss our dear friend whose continued support always meant the world to us. Our prayers and thoughts are with Joanne and the family and the many people that Paul impacted through his endless kindness and generosity.”

He was clearly well loved.

He deserves to be…

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