Paul Newman Pal Spills Cancer Details….

UPDATE: And the backpedaling has begun. As could be expected when one spills too much too soon, Newman buddy A.E. Hotchner now tells Access Hollywood “I saw him last week and he seemed fine. I have no knowledge of any diagnosis or doctors.”

Okay, the guy is 92—we’ll cut him some slack. But he was quite clear of mind when he told the AP, “I know it’s a form of cancer,” that it was in the “lung area” and that “he’s battling…doing all the right stuff. Paul is a fighter.” The AP, for its part, stands by the story.

Somewhere in the tony enclaves of Connecticut, there is trouble in Friendville…

Seeming to confirm rumors that acting legend Paul Newman has cancer, writer A.E. Hotchner—a longtime friend and neighbor of Newman’s who co-founded the Newman’s Own salad-dressing company with him—has revealed to the Associated Press that Newman told him about his condition 18 months ago, according to Us Magazine.

Speculation about Newman’s health mounted after several pictures of the 83-year-old actor looking gaunt at a children’s benefit appeared on Martha Stewart’s blog.

The Academy Award honoree’s cancellation of several appearances further fueled rumors.

While various news outlets have reported that Newman was diagnosed at Manhattan’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the actor’s camp has remained tight-lipped on his condition. On Tuesday, his rep released a one-line statement: “Newman says he’s doing nicely.”

Hotchner’s revelation would seem to shed light on Newman’s retirement from acting in May 2007.

Last July, the actor told Good Morning America, “I’m not able to work anymore as an actor at the level I would want to. You start to lose your memory, your confidence, your invention. So that’s pretty much a closed book for me…I’ve been doing it for 50 years. That’s enough.”

Tags: Paul Newman