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July 20, 2015

Paul Newman's Children Feuding With Head of Late Actor's Charity

Editor's note: This piece has been updated to add more detail from the Vanity Fair article quoted by the New York Post. The magazine piece is available on the Vanity Fair app and will be in the August issue but is not yet online. The Chronicle should have relied more heavily Monday on the Vanity Fair article because it was more detailed and was reported over several months.

Update on July 23: The Vanity Fair article is now online.We have added a link.

Paul Newman's children are at odds with a longtime friend of the actor who now heads the Newman's Own food company and charitable foundation, the New York Post writes, citing an article in the August issue of Vanity Fair that includes extensive comments from Susan Newman, the actor's eldest daughter.

Ms.  Newman told the magazine that Robert Forrester, who has led the organization since Mr. Newman's death in 2008, blocked the Hollywood icon's intention to set up foundations for her and her four sisters and to put his daughters on the Newman's Own board.

But Mr. Forrester says that is not the case, and noted that the late actor "never thought of Newman's Own as a family enterprise," adding, "Everything we are doing today is in line with Paul's way of doing things."

The Vanity Fair piece notes that two months before Mr. Newman died, he appointed Mr. Forrester, along with Brian Murphy, to join the board of his foundation. Before that, Mr. Newman had been the sole board member. Since its creation, the organization has donated $430 million in proceeds from the sale of salad dressings and other products based on Mr. Newman's recipes, the Vanity Fair article says.

In the Vanity Fair piece, Ms. Newman, says she and her four sisters — as well as Mr. Newman's wife, Joanne Woodward — are upset about the way Mr. Newman's charitable intentions were handled but says the other family members don't want to talk publicly about their concerns for fear of making things worse.

"Prior to my father's death, Mr. Forrester's favorite word was transparency," she told the magazine. After his death, she says, "every plan had been changed and/or deferred; if we asked any question we were accused of being adversarial."

Mr. Forrester tells the magazine he works with the Newman family regularly and knows of "no unanswered questions."

Editor's note: A previous version of this article cited salary data from ShowBiz411 that said top officials were paid a total of $1.4-million, and that their pay had tripled since 2010.The $1.4 million is the total for all staff members, according to a Newman's Own spokesman. The charity's informational tax form — posted on its site shows that Mr. Forrester's salary rose from $170,000 in 2010 to $274,846 in 2013 and that he increased the time on the job from 20 hours a week in 2010 to 30 hours in 2013.