NEW YORK – A longtime neighbor and business partner of Paul Newman said Wednesday that the actor has cancer, a day after FOXNews.com reported that the screen legend was seeing an oncologist for lung cancer.
Writer A.E. Hotchner, who partnered with Newman, 83, to start the Newman's Own salad dressing company in the 1980s, told the Associated Press Newman told him of the disease about 18 months ago. He didn't say what kind of cancer.
But late Wednesday Hotchner told "Access Hollywood" that the Associated Press misquoted him.
"I saw him last week and he seemed fine," he told "Access Hollywood." "I have no knowledge of any diagnosis or doctors. The AP misquoted me. I have no knowledge of Mr. Newman being treated for any illness."
Late Tuesday the screen legend issued a statement to the Associated Press that he is "doing nicely." A spokesman for Newman, Jeff Sanderson, issued the one-line statement.
Newman has been in and out of New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering hospital for treatment, FOXNews.com reported.
In late May Newman announced he would not direct a production of "Of Mice and Men" this fall at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Conn., where he lives. Artistic directors cited unspecified health issues.
The actor's neighbor, Martha Stewart, published pictures on her Web site on June 6 of Newman at a party she had hosted. He looked gaunt but was flashing his trademark smile.
"He’s a fighter," one of his close friends told FOX411 on Tuesday. "And he’s going to keep fighting."
Newman appeared to have lost weight when he was photographed at the Indianapolis 500 auto race last month.
Two friends told the Associated Press on Tuesday that Newman appeared to be doing well.
"I think he's feeling quite well," said actor James Naughton, who spoke to Newman on Monday night. "As far as I can tell, he's doing very well."
Newman had an infection over the winter but seems to have that under control, Naughton said. He was lively at this month's fundraiser for his Hole in the Wall Gang camp, he said.
The camp for critically ill children was named for the gang of Newman's character, Butch Cassidy, in the 1969 film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."
Michael Brockman, Newman's racing team partner, told the Associated Press that Newman recently said he wants to get back into his race car for a test run and possibly another competition. His last race was last fall, he said.
"I think he's doing better than he was," Brockman said, noting that Newman had regained most of the weight he had lost.
"I think he looks great," said Brockman, who saw Newman last weekend. "I wish I looked that good."
FOXNews.com on Tuesday reported that Newman has turned over the entire value of his ownership in Newman’s Own to charity.
Completed over a two-year period in 2005 and 2006, the amount of Newman's donations to Newman’s Own Foundation Inc. comes to $120 million, FOXNews.com's Roger Friedman reported.
Newman won an Oscar in 1986 for his leading role in "The Color of Money." His screen credits also include "Hud," "Cool Hand Luke," "The Verdict" and "Road to Perdition."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.