Robert Redford 'Beyond Words' over Newman’s Death

Robert Redford 'Beyond Words' over Newman’s Death
Newman and Redford in 2006
Evan Agostini/Getty

updated 09/28/2008 at 10:50 AM EDT

originally published 09/27/2008 03:00PM

Paul Newman’s lasting impact in Hollywood was more than evident Saturday, a day after the Oscar winner succumbed to cancer, as stars and pals alike expressed their sadness over his death.

"There is a point where feelings go beyond words," 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 shared heartthrob status in their heyday, starred together in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969 and again in The Sting, in 1973. A testament to their easygoing friendship: Redford famously gave Newman a dented, engine-less Porsche as a joke for his birthday one year. Newman repaid the favor by having the car crushed and sent back to the actor.

Hollywood in Mourning

Newman's Absence of Malice costar Sally Field echoed the sentiment of fondness for the Oscar winner. "I was blessed to have known him," she said in a statement. "The world is better because of him. Sometimes God makes perfect people and Paul Newman was one of them."

Martin Scorsese, who directed Newman in The Color of Money – for which he won the Best Actor Oscar in 1987 – paid tribute to Newman's big screen legacy. "It’s a great loss, in so many ways," said Scorcese in a statement. "The history of movies without Paul Newman? It’s 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?"

The director called Newman's characters "lasting and durable" and praised his effortless talent. "His powerful eloquence, his consummate sense of craft, so consummate that you didn't see any sense of effort up there on the screen, set a new standard."

George Clooney, a fellow humanitarian (and heartthrob), never worked with Newman onscreen, but saluted the actor's impact on the world: "He set the bar too high for the rest of us – not just actors, but all of us. He will be greatly missed."

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