By Susan King, Times Staff Writer Paul Newman was a superstar who entranced audiences and critics alike for half a century. He was also a humanitarian, a director and a race car driver. But, most of all, he was an actor of perceptive intelligence, power and even simplicity. In his review of Newmans 1994 film, Nobodys Fool, critic Roger Ebert stated that Newman is an exact contemporary of Marlon Brando, who is said to have invented modern film acting. Yes, and he probably did, stripping it of the mannerisms of the past and creating a hypercharged realism. Like Brando, Newman studied the Method. Like Brando, Newman looked good in an undershirt. Unlike Brando, Newman went on to study life . . . Newman continued to work on his craft. Having seen what he could put in, he went on to see what he could leave out. Heres a look at highlights from Newmans film and TV career: The Silver Chalice After appearing in several programs on live TV and on Broadway in William Inges Picnic, Newman made his feature debut in this tepid 1954 biblical epic based on the book by Thomas B. Costain. Newman plays an artist named Basil who makes the silver chalice that will hold the Holy Grail. Newman hated the film, and when the movie premiered on television in the 1960s, he went so far as to take out an ad in a trade publication in which he not only apologized for his wooden performance but also urged viewers not to watch it. Of course, it was a ratings blockbuster.