In Hollywood, PAUL NEWMAN was royalty.

But in Westport, Connecticut, where he lived with his wife of 50 years, JOANNE WOODWARD, he was just “a regular guy,” said AJ IZZO, part owner of CROSSROADS HARDWARE on Main Street, where PAUL NEWMAN had been a customer for more than 20 years.

“He’d walk in and say, ‘How are you, AJ?’ and I’d say, ‘Hey, Paul.’ He probably gave more than he took in life and you don’t find many people like that.”

PAUL NEWMAN, who will be remembered in town as upbeat, generous and down to earth, often popped into the store to buy supplies to fix common household problems.

“He was a gadget guy in many ways,” remarked Mr. Izzo. “He’d buy light bulbs or a new screw for a hinge just like an average guy would. “

He said that he last saw PAUL about two months ago when he came in alone to buy some masking tape. “He looked really thin,” he stated, adding that PAUL did not discuss his illness. “He was the kind of person who liked his privacy.”

However, he did run into one of PAUL’S friends less than a week ago. When he inquired as to how PAUL was doing, the friend responded, “Good. He’s having a beer and a glass of milk because he needs to gain weight.”

Approximately a month ago, PAUL treated himself to a beer during dinner with JOANNE at PANE VINO RESTAURANT, said owner MARTY LEVINE. They sat at their usual corner table.

Although he appeared frail and had a smaller appetite, he remained his usual cheerful self. “His personality was about the same,” stated Mr. Levine. “He was always upbeat. He didn’t seem dour or depressed.”

As a customer, he said PAUL NEWMAN was “honourable and courteous. I never felt like he gave off the aura of a big celebrity.”

BRYAN MALCARNEY, chef/owner of the BLUE LEMON RESTAURANT, another NEWMAN/WOODWARD haunt, agreed: “He’d joke a little with the staff. He was never a pompous Hollywood kind of person – neither is Joanne – and that was nice.”

One of PAUL’S favourite dishes was dover sole. He came in to eat about three weeks ago. “We’re really sad to see him go,” remarked Mr. Malcarney.

PAUL NEWMAN supported the town’s small businesses, including OSCAR’S DELI. He had been a loyal customer for over 40 years, owner LEE PAPAGEORGE said. “It’s a loss for the whole town. He was very generous, nice to have around, always approachable and very friendly.”

In addition to his humility and his kindness, RAMZE ZAKKA, owner of ACQUA RESTAURANT, remembers the actor for another of his best features: His baby blue eyes were brilliant across the dining room.”

ALBERT DeANGELIS, the executive chef, added: “He’s just one of the finest human beings I’ve ever been around.”

ELIAS VLANDIS, owner of the COFFEE & DONUT SHOP, says that the entire community of Westport is affected by the loss. “There are a lot of regular people coming in today that are sad about it.”

PAUL NEWMAN will never be forgotten in Westport.

Mr. Vlandis said, “We have a picture on the wall here. We’re not taking it down. We’re proud to have it.”

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