Newman, Reeve 'Spar'

12/07/1998 at 12:00 AM EST

There was some good-natured chiding at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel last night between Paul Newman and Christopher Reeve at a Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation fund-raiser (for the continued research of spinal cord injuries). Introducing Reeve to the crowd, Newman said of the younger actor's paralyzing injury: "The greatest gift (is) to watch Chris Reeve start right at his very roots and laugh. But what is even better than that is to watch him make other people laugh." Not missing a beat, reports PEOPLE, Reeve fired back: "We wanted to honor (Paul), and he said, 'No, I've had enough honors.' So we thought about it, and he's right. So we demoted him to special guest. And then we thought, Well, what's so special about him? I mean, he's an OK actor, but man, he's been around a long time." Concluding his remarks, Reeve said: "I never thought when I was watching 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' that one day I'd be here trashing Paul Newman."

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