Reports that the 83-year-old is battling lung cancer have been circulating for months. However, the former heartthrob’s spokesman yesterday said the actor was “doing nicely”.
Writer AE Hotchner, a long-time neighbour and business partner of Newman’s, said the actor told him about the disease 18 months ago.
Hotchner, a partner at Newman’s Own salad dressing company in the 1980s, did not say what kind of cancer he was suffering from.
Last month, Newman pulled out of directing John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men for unspecified health reasons.
He is reported to have visited the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York, a few hours from his Connecticut home, and has been pictured looking gaunt.
Newman, a former chain smoker, recently appeared at a US fundraising event for children with cancer accompanied by his wife, Joanne Woodward. He has made light of the reports about his health, saying in January: “I am being treated for athlete’s foot and hair loss – unless the doctors know something I don’t.”
The actor’s representative Toni Howard has previously dismissed the cancer claims as simply “not true”.
Another friend said the star of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was doing well.
Actor James Naughton said: “I think he’s feeling quite well. As far as I can tell he’s doing very well.”