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Paul Newman's Daughters Sue His Newman's Own Foundation Claiming His Legacy Is 'Under Assault'

Paul Newman's Daughters Sue His Newman's Own Foundation Claiming His Legacy Is 'Under Assault'
Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images

Two of late screen legend and philanthropist Paul Newman’s five daughters are suing the charitable foundation their father started after its board of directors cut the amount of money allocated to them annually for their own charitable donations in half.

Susan Newman—the actor's second eldest daughter from his marriage to Jackie Witte—and Elinor “Nell” Newman—the eldest daughter of Newman and actor Joanne Woodward—filed a lawsuit against the Newman’s Own Foundation on Tuesday in Connecticut.

According to the New York Post, court documents state their father’s legacy is “under assault” by the board of directors who ignored his final wishes by reducing the money his daughters are provided to donate to charity.

The court filing states:

“Mr. Newman granted to Newman’s Own Foundation the rights to his name, image and likeness and other publicity and intellectual property rights, but not unconditionally."
"Instead, Mr. Newman made that grant on the condition that Newman’s Own Foundation allocate $400,000 each year to each of his ‘Daughters’ Foundations,’ for them to donate to charities identified by his daughters pursuant to specific rules that he established.”

The documents state the annual amount Nell, Susan and his other daughters—the eldest Stephanie and the two youngest Melissa and Claire Olivia—individually receive was reduced from $400,000 to $200,000.

It also alleged:

"[T]he years since Mr. Newman’s death consist of a long and consistent pattern of disregard, by those in control, of Mr. Newman’s specific intentions and direction, coupled with mismanagement, scandal, and questionable practices.”

The lawsuit claims their father’s legacy is under attack by the “very organization he founded in an effort to preserve and expand” it.

Twitter users seemed quite interested in the outcome of the lawsuit

Many agreed the change was unwarranted and wished the Newmans success in their suit.

Paul Newman began his foundation three years before his death in 2008.

It is funded with after-tax profits from the food company Newman’s Own Inc.—which the board of directors also operate and control.