Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman

born on 30/1/1930 in San Bernardino, CA, United States

Gene Hackman

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Gene Hackman
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Spouse(s) Betsy Arakawa (1991present)

Eugene Allen "Gene" Hackman[1] (born January 30, 1930) is a retired American actor and novelist.

Hackman has made 80 films. He came to fame in 1967 when his performance as Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde earned him his first Oscar nomination. His major roles include police detective Popeye Doyle in The French Connection, surveillance expert Harry Caul in The Conversation, basketball coach Norman Dale in Hoosiers, the heroic Reverend Scott in The Poseidon Adventure, federal agent Rupert Anderson in Mississippi Burning, sadistic sheriff Little Bill Daggett in Unforgiven for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, arch-villain Lex Luthor in Superman (plus two of its sequels), Edward "Brill" Lyle in Enemy of the State, patriarch Royal Tenenbaum in The Royal Tenenbaums, submarine captain Frank Ramsey in Crimson Tide, professional thief Joe Moore in Heist and Admiral Leslie McMahon Reigart in Behind Enemy Lines.

Early life

Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, the son of Lyda (née Gray) and Eugene Ezra Hackman.[2] He has a brother, Richard. Hackman's family moved frequently, until finally settling in Danville, Illinois, where they lived in the house of his English-born maternal grandmother Beatrice,[3] and where Hackman's father operated the printing press for the Commercial-News, a local paper.[4] Hackman's parents divorced in 1943, and his father subsequently left the family.[4][3] At 16, Hackman left home to join the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served four-and-a-half years as a field radio operator. Having finished his service, he moved to New York, working in several minor jobs. His mother died in 1962 as a result of a fire she accidentally set while smoking.[5]



In 1956, Hackman decided to become an actor; he joined the Pasadena Playhouse in California. It was there that he forged a friendship with another aspiring actor, Dustin Hoffman. Already seen as outsiders by their classmates, Hackman and Hoffman were later voted "The Least Likely To Succeed." Determined to prove them wrong, Hackman hopped on a bus bound for New York City. A 2004 article in Vanity Fair described how Hackman, Hoffman and Robert Duvall were all struggling actors and close friends while living in New York City in the 1960s. Hackman was working as a doorman when he ran into an instructor whom he had despised at the Pasadena Playhouse. Reinforcing "The Least Likely To Succeed" vote, the man had said, "See, Hackman, I told you you wouldn't amount to anything."

Hackman began performing in several off-Broadway plays. In 1964, he had an offer to co-star in the play Any Wednesday with actress Sandy Dennis. This opened the door to film work. His first role was in Lilith, with Warren Beatty in the leading role. In 1967 Hackman appeared in an episode of the television series The Invaders entitled The Spores. Another supporting role, Buck Barrow in 1967's Bonnie and Clyde, earned him an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor. In 1969, he played a ski coach in Downhill Racer and an astronaut in Marooned. Also in 1969, he played the role of a member of a barnstorming skydiving team that entertained mostly at county fairs: The Gypsy Moths.


In 1970, he was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award again, this time for I Never Sang for My Father, working alongside Melvyn Douglas and Estelle Parsons. The next year he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his memorable performance as New York City police officer Popeye Doyle in The French Connection, marking his graduation to leading man status.

He followed this with leading roles in the disaster film The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation (1974) which was nominated for several Oscars. That same year Hackman appeared in what became one of his most famous comedic roles as the blind hermit in Young Frankenstein.

He later appeared as one of Teddy Roosevelt's former Rough Riders in the Western horse-race saga Bite the Bullet (1975) and in the star-studded war film A Bridge Too Far (1977) as Polish General Sosabowski. Hackman showed a talent for both comedy and the "slow burn" as criminal mastermind Lex Luthor in Superman: The Movie (1978), as he would in its 1980 and 1987 sequels.


By the end of the 1980s, Hackman alternated between leading and supporting roles, earning another Best Actor nomination for Mississippi Burning. He had a memorable part as a Secretary of Defense trying to cover up a homicide in 1987's No Way Out opposite Kevin Costner.

During this decade Hackman also could be seen in Reds, Under Fire, Hoosiers, Power, Uncommon Valor and Bat*21. A 2008 American Film Institute poll voted Hoosiers the fourth-greatest film of all time in the sports genre.


In 1990, the actor underwent heart surgery, which kept him from work for a while, although he found time for Narrow Margin  a remake of The Narrow Margin (1952). In 1992, he played the sadistic sheriff "Little" Bill Daggett in the western Unforgiven directed by Clint Eastwood and written by David Webb Peoples which earned him a second Oscar, this time for Best Supporting Actor. The film won Best Picture.

Hackman co-starred with Tom Cruise as a corrupt lawyer in The Firm (1993) and appeared in a second John Grisham story in 1996, playing a convict on death row in The Chamber.

In 1995, Hackman played an inept Hollywood producer in Get Shorty and the villainous fast-draw champion John Herrod in The Quick and the Dead opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, as well as submarine Captain Frank Ramsey in the film Crimson Tide with Denzel Washington.

In 1996, he took a comedic turn as ultra-conservative Senator Kevin Keeley in The Birdcage with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. He also co-starred with Will Smith in the 1998 film Enemy of the State, where his character was reminiscent of the one from The Conversation.

He played a President of the United States who commits a murder in 1997's Absolute Power, re-teaming with director-star Clint Eastwood.


Hackman starred in the David Mamet crime film Heist as an aging professional thief of considerable skill who is forced into one final job. He also had a leading role as the head of an eccentric family in the ensemble cast film The Royal Tenenbaums and in yet another Grisham legal drama, Runaway Jury, at long last getting to make a picture with his longtime friend Dustin Hoffman.

In 2003 at the Golden Globes, Hackman was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his "outstanding contribution to the entertainment field."[6]


Together with undersea archaeologist Daniel Lenihan, Hackman has written three novels: Wake of the Perdido Star (1999), Justice for None (2004), and Escape from Andersonville (2008).

On July 7, 2004, Hackman gave a rare interview to Larry King, in which Hackman announced that he had no future film projects lined up, and believes his acting career is over. In 2008, while promoting his third novel, Hackman confirmed that he had retired from acting.[7] His final film to date was Welcome to Mooseport (2004), a comedy with Ray Romano in which Hackman portrayed a former President of the United States.

Personal life

Hackman's first wife was Faye Maltese. They had three children, Christopher Allen, Elizabeth Jean and Leslie Anne. The couple divorced in 1986 after 30 years of marriage. In 1991 Hackman married Betsy Arakawa. They live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Betsy is co-owner of an upscale retail home-furnishing store in Santa Fe called Pandora's, Inc.


Year Title Role Notes
1961 Mad Dog Coll Policeman uncredited
1964 Lilith Norman
1966 Hawaii Dr. John Whipple
1967 Banning Tommy Del Gaddo
1967 Community Shelter Planning Donald Ross  Regional Civil Defense Officer
1967 Covenant with Death, AA Covenant with Death Harmsworth
1967 First to Fight Sgt. Tweed
1967 Bonnie & Clyde Buck Barrow NominatedAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1968 Split, TheThe Split Detective Lt. Walter Brill
1969 Riot Red Fraker
1969 Gypsy Moths, TheThe Gypsy Moths Joe Browdy
1969 Downhill Racer Eugene Claire
1969 Marooned Buzz Lloyd
1970 I Never Sang for My Father Gene Garrison NominatedAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1971 Doctors' Wives Dr. Dave Randolph
1971 Hunting Party, TheThe Hunting Party Brandt Ruger
1971 French Connection, TheThe French Connection NYPD Det. Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle Academy Award for Best Actor
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor  Motion Picture Drama
1972 Prime Cut Mary Ann
1972 Poseidon Adventure, TheThe Poseidon Adventure Reverend Frank Scott
1972 Cisco Pike Sergeant Leo Holland
1973 Scarecrow Max Millan
1974 Conversation, TheThe Conversation Harry Caul NominatedBAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
NominatedGolden Globe Award for Best Actor  Motion Picture Drama
1974 Young Frankenstein The Blindman (Harold)
1974 Zandy's Bride Zandy Allan
1975 French Connection II NYPD Det. Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle NominatedBAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
NominatedGolden Globe Award for Best Actor  Motion Picture Drama
1975 Lucky Lady Kibby Womack
1975 Night Moves Harry Moseby
1975 Bite the Bullet Sam Clayton
1977 Domino Principle, TheThe Domino Principle Roy Tucker
1977 Bridge Too Far, AA Bridge Too Far Maj Gen. Stanisaw Sosabowski
1977 March or Die Maj. William Sherman Foster
1978 Superman Lex Luthor NominatedBAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1980 Superman II Lex Luthor
1981 All Night Long George Dupler
1981 Reds Pete Van Wherry
1983 Under Fire Alex Grazier NominatedGolden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor  Motion Picture
1983 Two of a Kind God uncredited voice role
1983 Uncommon Valor Col. Jason Rhodes, USMC (ret)
1984 Eureka Jack McCann
1984 Misunderstood Ned Rawley
1985 Twice in a Lifetime Harry MacKenzie NominatedGolden Globe Award for Best Actor  Motion Picture Drama
1985 Target Walter Lloyd/Duncan (Duke) Potter
1986 Power Wilfred Buckley
1986 Hoosiers Coach Norman Dale
1987 No Way Out Defense Secretary David Brice
1987 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace Lex Luthor / voice of Nuclear Man
1988 Bat*21 Lt. Col. Iceal Hambleton, USAF
1988 Mississippi Burning FBI Special Agent Rupert Anderson NominatedAcademy Award for Best Actor
NominatedGolden Globe Award for Best Actor  Motion Picture Drama
1988 Another Woman Larry Lewis
1988 Full Moon in Blue Water Floyd
1988 Split Decisions Dan McGuinn
1989 Package, TheThe Package Sgt. Johnny Gallagher
1990 Loose Cannons MacArthur Stern
1990 Postcards from the Edge Lowell Kolchek
1990 Narrow Margin Robert Caulfield
1991 Class Action Jedediah Tucker Ward
1991 Company Business Sam Boyd
1992 Unforgiven Little Bill Daggett Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor  Motion Picture
1993 Firm, TheThe Firm Avery Tolar
1993 Geronimo: An American Legend Brig. Gen. George Crook
1994 Wyatt Earp Nicholas Earp
1995 Quick and the Dead, TheThe Quick and the Dead John Herod
1995 Crimson Tide Capt. Frank Ramsey
1995 Get Shorty Harry Zimm
1996 Birdcage, TheThe Birdcage Senator Kevin Keeley
1996 Extreme Measures Dr. Lawrence Myrick
1996 Chamber, TheThe Chamber Sam Cayhall
1997 Absolute Power President Allen Richmond
1998 Twilight Jack Ames
1998 Enemy of the State Edward 'Brill' Lyle
1998 Antz General Mandible Voice only
1999 Black and the White, TheThe Black and the White Grant Ritchie
2000 Under Suspicion Henry Hearst Executive Producer
2000 Replacements, TheThe Replacements Jimmy McGinty
2001 Heartbreakers William B. Tensy
2001 Heist Joe Moore
2001 Mexican, TheThe Mexican Arnold Margolese (uncredited)
2001 Royal Tenenbaums, TheThe Royal Tenenbaums Royal Tenenbaum Golden Globe Award for Best Actor  Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2001 Behind Enemy Lines Admiral Leslie McMahon Reigart
2003 Runaway Jury Rankin Fitch
2004 Welcome to Mooseport Monroe Cole
2006 Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut Lex Luthor


  1. His middle name is "Allen," according to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. At
  2. Gene Hackman Biography (1930). Retrieved on 2010-06-17.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Norman, Michael, HOLLYWOOD'S UNCOMMON EVERYMAN, New York Times, 1989-03-19. URL accessed on 2010-07-19.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Leman, Kevin (2007). What Your Childhood Memories Say about You: And What You Can Do about It, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
  5. Gene Hackman profile. Retrieved on 2010-08-11.
  6. Business Wire, November 14, 2002. Hollywood. 'Gene Hackman to Receive HFPA'S Cecil B. DeMille Award At 60th Annual Golden Globe Awards to be Telecast Live on NBC on Sunday, January 19, 2003'. Retrieved on 2010-06-17.
  7. Blair, Iain (2008-06-05). Just a Minute With: Gene Hackman on his retirement. Reuters. Retrieved on 2008-07-19.

External links

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Gene Hackman
  • Gene Hackman at the Internet Movie Database
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  • Gene Hackman at the TCM Movie Database
  • Gene Hackman at the Internet Broadway Database
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This page was last modified 10.09.2010 19:18:46

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