Gene Hackman


Actor
Gene Hackman

About

Also Known As
Eugene Allen Hackman, Eugene Alden Hackman
Birth Place
San Bernardino, California, USA
Born
January 30, 1930

Biography

One of the most versatile and well-respected actors in American cinema history, Gene Hackman enjoyed a productive career that spanned over six decades, encompassing exquisite performances on stage and in feature films. Once voted by his acting school classmates as the least likely to succeed, Hackman essayed some of filmdom's most memorable characters, a few of which earned the gruff, bu...

Photos & Videos

The Poseidon Adventure - Movie Posters
Marooned - Movie Poster
Bonnie and Clyde - Publicity Still

Family & Companions

Faye Maltese
Wife
Secretary. Met in 1953; married on January 1, 1956; separated in 1982; divorced; mother of Hackman's three children.
Betsy Arakawa
Wife
Musician. Born c. 1961; Hawaiian; met when she was working at a health club at which Hackman was a member; together since 1984; married in December 1991.

Bibliography

"Wake of the Perdido Star"
Gene Hackman and Daniel Lenihan, Newmarket (1999)

Notes

When he is in New York, Hackman teaches at the New Actors Workshop, a two-year professional actor training program.

In addition to writing novels, Hackman also paints landscapes.

Biography

One of the most versatile and well-respected actors in American cinema history, Gene Hackman enjoyed a productive career that spanned over six decades, encompassing exquisite performances on stage and in feature films. Once voted by his acting school classmates as the least likely to succeed, Hackman essayed some of filmdom's most memorable characters, a few of which earned the gruff, but sensitive actor several Academy Award nominations. Beginning as a reliable character player on stage, Hackman emerged as an unlikely hero of the counterculture with a bombastic turn in Arthur Penn's seminal "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967). Just a few years later, he secured himself an Oscar for Best Actor with his tough-guy performance as the unforgettable Popeye Doyle in "The French Connection" (1971). Hackman again delivered the goods in Francis Ford Coppola's paranoid thriller, "The Conversation" (1974) and followed through as the comically maniacal Lex Luther in "Superman: The Movie" (1978). Though he entered a premature retirement brought on by his exhaustive work schedule, Hackman returned to the fore in Warren Beatty's "Reds" (1981) and entered into what proved to be the busiest part of his career, which culminated in an Academy Award nomination for "Mississippi Burning" (1988) and a Best Supporting Actor win for "Unforgiven" (1992). After portraying a sleazy B-movie producer in "Get Shorty" (1995) and the rascally patriarch of a dysfunctional family in "The Royal Tenenbaums" (2001), Hackman drifted off into an unofficial retirement that allowed him time to nurture his writing career while leaving behind a remarkable legacy.

Born on Jan. 30, 1930 in San Bernardino, CA, Hackman endured a nomadic childhood with his father, Eugene, and his mother, Lyda, before finally settling in Illinois, where he was raised by his maternal grandmother, Beatrice. Unchallenged by school, he dropped out at age 16 and lied about his age to enlist in the U.S. Marines. Trained as a radio operator, Hackman served in China where his radio background helped land him work as a disc jockey. While suffering from two broken legs following a 1950 motorcycle accident, Hackman decided to pursue a career in radio, moving to New York City after his discharge to study at the School of Radio Technique. Throughout the early part of the decade, he worked his way across America's heartland, developing his resonant vocal abilities as a radio announcer at various stations. Fast approaching 30, Hackman decided to translate his radio experience into an acting career, enrolling at the famed Pasadena Playhouse, where he was dubbed by an instructor "least likely to succeed," an honor he shared with fellow classmate Dustin Hoffman. Despite making his stage debut with a supporting role in "The Curious Miss Caraway" (1958), Hackman was asked to leave the Pasadena Playhouse.

With nowhere else to turn, Hackman moved back to New York City, where he struggled alongside Hoffman and Robert Duvall to try to succeed despite assurances of failure from his old classmates and instructors. He flourished under the tutelage of George Morrison, a former instructor at the Lee Strasberg Institute, who trained the aspiring performer in the famed 'Method' approach to acting. Meanwhile, Hackman made his stage debut in "Chaparral" (1958) and began finding employment in various small screen productions like the "U.S. Steel Hour" (ABC/CBS, 1953-1963) and the premiere episode of the courtroom drama, "The Defenders" (CBS, 1961-65). A few years after joining the improvisational troupe, The Premise, Hackman truly arrived as a stage actor with a supporting performance opposite Sandy Dennis in a Broadway production of "Any Wednesday" (1964). That same year, he had his first substantial film role, playing the romantic rival for an occupational therapist (Warren Beatty) who falls for a wealthy mental patient (Jean Seberg) in the downer psychological drama, "Lilith" (1964).

When it came time to cast the role of Buck, the older brother of outlaw Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty), in the seminal counterculture crime drama "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967), Beatty remembered Hackman from "Lilith" and offered him the role. Bringing a Brandoesque spin to the role, Hackman turned what could have been just a murderous rube into a character infused with a righteous innocence, which helped earn the actor who was once voted least likely to succeed his first Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor. He was excellent as the driven Olympic coach in the documentary-like "Downhill Racer" (1969) and picked up a second Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod as he mined the autobiographical parallels of a son who cannot communicate with his dad in "I Never Sang for My Father" (1970). The following year brought him a once-in-a-lifetime role, playing the tough, uncompromising New York City narcotics cop Popeye Doyle in "The French Connection" (1971). While the film was perhaps best remembered for a brilliantly staged car chase with Doyle going after a runaway subway, Hackman managed not to be overshadowed, skillfully crafting a warts-and-all portrait of a vulgar sadist. Accolades rained on Hackman, who capped a banner year with an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Now firmly established as a leading man, Hackman began to undertake a series of roles that further demonstrated his range and versatility. He proved effective as a crusading preacher and de facto leader of a group of survivors of a sea disaster in the enjoyably cheesy adventure yarn, "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972), and effectively partnered with Al Pacino in the buddy road movie "Scarecrow" (1973). Meanwhile, director Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation" (1974) offered one of the richest characterizations of his long career, in which he played a surveillance expert whose personal involvement in one of his cases leads to a plunge into paranoia and suspicion. Hackman next delivered a short, but well-remembered cameo role as a blind hermit who fumbles his efforts to provide aid and comfort to the misunderstood monster (Peter Doyle) in Mel Brooks' horror spoof, "Young Frankenstein" (1974), starring Gene Wilder and Teri Garr. For the first time, audiences were able to see Hackman's sharp comic abilities, which to that point were woefully unexplored. Following starring roles in the Western "Zandy's Bride" (1974) and the noir crime drama "Night Moves" (1975), Hackman reprised Popeye Doyle, who tracks down the escaped Frog One (Fernando Rey) to Marseilles, in the mediocre, but still well-acted sequel, "The French Connection II" (1975).

By the mid- to late-1970s, Hackman's career went into a bit of a slide, following starring turns in such underwhelming movies like "March or Die" (1977) and "The Domino Principle" (1977). By the time he was showcasing his high camp villain Lex Luthor in "Superman" (1978), Hackman had prematurely announced his retirement after nearly non-stop work that had left him physically and emotionally drained. Spending his time painting in a West Los Angeles apartment, Hackman was eventually pulled back into the game by old friend Warren Beatty, who convinced the actor to play magazine editor Peter Van Wherry in the epic historical drama "Reds" (1981). While he was miscast opposite Barbra Streisand in the triangular romantic comedy "All Night Long" (1981), he was right at home in the action-adventure "Uncommon Valor" (1983) and the gripping political thriller "Under Fire" (1983). Hackman brought depth and conviction to his performance as a straying husband undergoing a mid-life crisis in "Twice in a Lifetime" (1985), perhaps in part inspired by his 1982 divorce from first wife, Faye Maltese. Re-energized after his self-imposed exile, Hackman went on to etch several memorable characterizations in the 1980s, including a small-town high school basketball coach in "Hoosiers" (1986) and a cold-hearted Secretary of Defense in the thriller "No Way Out" (1987).

Following a reprisal of Lex Luther in the unnecessary "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" (1987), Hackman delivered a searing performance as a good ole boy FBI agent investigating the murders of civil rights workers in the 1960s-era drama, "Mississippi Burning" (1988), for which he picked up another Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. As he entered the 1990s, Hackman remained exceptionally busy, churning out a wide variety of roles. After playing a practical-minded cop who teams up with a partner (Dan Aykroyd) suffering from multiple personality disorder in the miserable "Loose Cannons" (1990), he was a lawyer who enters the courtroom opposite his attorney daughter (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) in Michael Apted's "Class Action" (1991). Though surgery in 1990 for heart problems provoked another hiatus, Hackman roared back with another fascinating role, playing sadistic, but smiling sheriff Little Bill Daggett in Clint Eastwood's revisionist Western "Unforgiven" (1992). Infusing the effective lawman with a streak of decency, the actor sketched a character that was profoundly ambiguous; one that could be either heroic or villainous. Critics and audiences embraced the film and Hackman's character and he earned not only stellar reviews but numerous prizes, all of which was capped by a second Oscar, this time as the year's Best Supporting Actor.

Healthy and in-demand, Hackman embarked on another round of seemingly non-stop roles. While Sydney Pollack cast him as the burnt-out lawyer and mentor to Tom Cruise who is powerless to help his protégé in "The Firm" (1993), the actor displayed a sudden fondness for Westerns. He was a sympathetic general in "Geronimo: An American Legend" (1993), the moral compass of "Wyatt Earp" (1994) as the family's patriarch, and in an almost-spoof of Little Bill, played a gunslinger in the loopy "The Quick and the Dead" (1995). Loosening up a bit, Hackman displayed his assured comedic gifts as a schlock horror filmmaker who runs afoul of a Mafia boss (Dennis Farina) tracking down a loan collector (John Travolta) who embarks on a movie career in "Get Shorty" (1995). After a turn as a conservative politician who plays straight man - on more than one level - to Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in "The Birdcage" (1996), Hackman began to display a darker side, playing a sinister surgeon in "Extreme Measures" (1996) and a racist killer on death row in "The Chamber" (1996). He excelled in his next two performances, playing a U.S. President embroiled in a murder investigation in "Absolute Power" (1997) and a renegade NSA agent in the thriller "Enemy of the State" (1998), a role that was an overt nod to his performance in "The Conversation."

Having done all he could do in Hollywood, Hackman entered the world of publishing with his first novel, Wake of the Perdido Star (1999), which he co-wrote with author Daniel Lenihan. While 1999 marked the first year he failed to appear in a single feature film, Hackman returned the following year with a turn in "The Replacements" (2000), playing the NFL coach of a rag-tag group of players filling in for a striking team. Later he was featured in "Under Suspicion," Stephen Hopkins' nervy reworking of the French film "Garde a vu" (1982), playing a wealthy attorney suspected of rape and murder. After an uncredited cameo in "The Mexican" (2001), he had a charming role as a billionaire reeled in by mother-daughter beauties (Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt) in the unremarkable con-women comedy "Heartbreakers" (2001). Next he headed the impressive cast of David Mamet's low-key thriller, "Heist" (2001), with a note-perfect and effortless performance that was tinged with both bravado and vulnerability as an almost untouchable veteran master thief. Hackman followed up with a role as a steely admiral who risks his career when he puts people over politics in an effort to save a maverick navigator (Owen Wilson) shot down in Bosnia in "Behind Enemy Lines" (2001).

Though he was a steady presence on the big screen, Hackman's career began to show signs of slowing down. While at the time most were unaware, the veteran actor was on his way to retirement. He did, however, have one more great performance in him, which he delivered in Wes Anderson's droll family dramedy, "The Royal Tenenbaums" (2001), in which he played the titular patriarch of a dysfunctional family of geniuses (Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson). Anderson admitted to creating the funny, but ultimately endearing role for Hackman, though the actor had vocally opposed such endeavors in the past. Any objections were quickly silenced when the actor won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. After receiving a special Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes ceremony in 2003, Hackman was next seen on screen in "Runaway Jury" (2003), playing Rankin Fitch, a high-priced and morally bankrupt jury consultant who stops at nothing to control the outcome of a crucial trail verdict. For the first time in his career, Hackman played opposite his friend and fellow actor voted least likely to succeed, Dustin Hoffman.

In the political satire "Welcome to Mooseport" (2004), Hackman played a former U.S. president who runs for mayor of a small Maine town against a local hardware store owner and plumber (Ray Romano). Not his best work by any stretch, "Mooseport" wound up being the final film Hackman appeared in to date, marking the start to his unofficial retirement. Hackman confirmed on a 2004 airing of "Larry King Live" (CNN, 1985-2010) that he had no projects lined up and believed that his acting career was indeed over. Meanwhile, he continued to co-author novels with Daniel Lenihan, including Justice for None (2006) and Escape from Andersonville (2009), which dramatized a prison break from Fort Sumter during the Civil War.

By Shawn Dwyer

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Welcome to Mooseport (2004)
Runaway Jury (2003)
Heist (2001)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Behind Enemy Lines (2001)
Heartbreakers (2001)
Under Suspicion (2000)
The Replacements (2000)
Antz (1998)
Voice
Twilight (1998)
Enemy of the State (1998)
Absolute Power (1997)
Alan Richmond
The Chamber (1996)
Sam Cayhall
The Birdcage (1996)
Extreme Measures (1996)
Crimson Tide (1995)
The Quick and the Dead (1995)
Get Shorty (1995)
Wyatt Earp (1994)
The Firm (1993)
Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)
Clint Eastwood: The Man From Malpaso (1993)
Unforgiven (1992)
Company Business (1991)
Class Action (1991)
Narrow Margin (1990)
Loose Cannons (1990)
Postcards From The Edge (1990)
Lowell
The Package (1989)
Bat 21 (1988)
Another Woman (1988)
Full Moon in Blue Water (1988)
Mississippi Burning (1988)
Split Decisions (1988)
Dan Mcguinn
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Lex Luthor
No Way Out (1987)
David Brice
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Nuclear Man
Power (1986)
Wilfred Buckley
Hoosiers (1986)
Twice in a Lifetime (1985)
Target (1985)
Misunderstood (1984)
Eureka (1984)
Jack Mccann
Two of a Kind (1983)
Voice
Under Fire (1983)
Uncommon Valor (1983)
Superman II (1981)
Lex Luthor
Reds (1981)
All Night Long (1981)
Superman:The Movie (1978)
March Or Die (1977)
The Domino Principle (1977)
A Bridge Too Far (1977)
Night Moves (1975)
Lucky Lady (1975)
Kibby
Bite the Bullet (1975)
French Connection II (1975)
James "Popeye" Doyle
The Conversation (1974)
Harry Caul
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Zandy's Bride (1974)
Zandy Allan
Scarecrow (1973)
Max
Cisco Pike (1972)
Officer Leo Holland
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
Reverend Scott
Prime Cut (1972)
Mary Ann
The Hunting Party (1971)
Brandt Ruger
Doctors' Wives (1971)
Dave Randolph
The French Connection (1971)
Jimmy ["Popeye"] Doyle
I Never Sang for My Father (1970)
Gene Garrison
Downhill Racer (1969)
Eugene Claire
Riot (1969)
Red Fletcher
The Gypsy Moths (1969)
Joe Browdy
Marooned (1969)
Buzz Lloyd
The Split (1968)
Lieut. Walter Brill
Banning (1967)
Tommy Del Gaddo
A Covenant With Death (1967)
Harmsworth
First To Fight (1967)
Sergeant Tweed
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Buck Barrow
Hawaii (1966)
John Whipple
Lilith (1964)
Norman
Mad Dog Coll (1961)
Cop

Producer (Feature Film)

Under Suspicion (2000)
Executive Producer

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

The Mexican (2001)
Other

Cast (Special)

The 60th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2003)
Heroes of Iwo Jima (2001)
Narration
Heroes of Iwo Jima (2001)
Host
Making the Connection: Untold Stories of The French Connection (2001)
Interviewee
History vs. Hollywood (2001)
Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows (2000)
The AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars (1999)
Hitchcock, Selznick & the End of Hollywood (1999)
Narrator
Sports on the Silver Screen (1997)
Star Trek: 30 Years and Beyond (1996)
100 Years of the Hollywood Western (1994)
The 66th Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1994)
Presenter
The 65th Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1993)
Presenter
And the Winner Is (1993)
Performer
50th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1993)
Performer
Earth and the American Dream (1993)
Voice
Eastwood & Co. Making "Unforgiven" (1992)
The 46th Annual Tony Awards (1992)
Presenter
The 3rd Annual Hollywood Insider Academy Awards Special (1989)
The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1989)
Performer
Charles Bragg: One of a Kind (1986)
The Night of 100 Stars II (1985)

Misc. Crew (Special)

Hometown Heroes (1998)
Film Clips

Cast (Short)

The Sky Divers (1969)
Himself

Life Events

1946

Joined the Marines at age 16 after quitting school

1950

Broke both legs in a motorcycle accident

1958

New York stage debut in "Chaparral"

1958

Made stage debut opposite ZaSu Pitts in "The Curious Miss Caraway" at the Pasadena Playhouse

1959

TV acting debut on the episode "Little Tin God" of CBS' "U.S. Steel Hour"; later appeared on several other installments of the show

1961

Appeared with the improvisational troupe The Premise in Greenwich Village

1961

Feature film acting debut, small role as a cop in "Mad Dog Coll"

1961

Made impression with guest appearance on the debut episode of the CBS series "The Defenders"

1963

Broadway debut, "Children at Their Games"

1964

First major film role, "Lilith"; also first screen collaboration with Warren Beatty

1964

Rose to prominence in Broadway production of "Any Wednesday" opposite Sandy Dennis

1967

Hired by Beatty to play Buck Barrow in "Bonnie and Clyde"; received first Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor; also initial collaboration with Arthur Penn

1968

TV-movie debut, "Shadow on the Land" (ABC)

1969

Appeared as one of the astronauts trapped in space in "Marooned"

1970

Earned second Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for "I Never Sang for My Father"

1971

Breakthrough screen role, NYC detective Popeye Doyle in "The French Connection"; reportedly almost quit film over its violent content; earned Best Actor Oscar

1972

Headed the all-star cast of "The Poseidon Adventure" as a defrocked minister who becomes the de facto leader of those who survived the underwater disaster

1974

Offered hilarious cameo as the blind hermit in Mel Brooks' horror spoof "Young Frankenstein"

1974

Portrayed a specialist in planting bugging devices in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation"

1975

Reprised role of Popeye Doyle in "French Connection II"

1975

Reteamed with director Arthur Penn for "Night Moves"

1977

Appeared as part of the all-star cast of Richard Attenborough's WWII epic "A Bridge Too Far"

1977

"Retired" from acting for four years

1978

Offered deliciously sly turn as the villainous Lex Luthor in "Superman"; reprised role in 1980's "Superman II" (shot simultaneously with the first)

1981

Had misfire as comic lead opposite Barbra Streisand in "All Night Long"

1981

Returned to features after "retirement" in supporting role of editor Peter Van Wherry in Beatty's epic "Reds"

1983

Delivered fine turn as a news anchorman in "Under Fire"

1985

Played a middle-aged man going through a midlife crisis resulting in an affair in the underrated "Twice in a Lifetime"

1986

Played the coach of a small-town Indiana high school basketball team in "Hoosiers"

1987

Reprised role of Lex Luthor in the disappointing "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace"

1988

Earned Best Actor Academy Award nomination as an FBI agent investigating the murders of civil rights workers in "Mississippi Burning"

1988

Acted opposite Gena Rowlands in Woody Allen's "Another Woman"

1989

Starred opposite Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as father-daughter lawyers on opposite sides of a case in "Class Action"

1990

Underwent surgery for angina, provoking a two-year hiatus from acting

1990

Played a film director in Mike Nichols' "Postcards From the Edge," adapted from Carrie Fisher's roman-a-clef

1992

Delivered fine villainous turn as a corrupt sheriff in Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven"; received Best Supporting Actor Oscar

1992

Returned to Broadway in "Death and the Maiden" alongside Richard Dreyfuss and Glenn Close

1993

Portrayed a burnt-out lawyer in "The Firm," based on the John Grisham novel

1994

Cast as the patriarch of the family in "Wyatt Earp"

1995

Provided formidable opposition to Denzel Washington as the captain of a submarine in the taut thriller "Crimson Tide"

1995

Showed comic side as a hack director in "Get Shorty"

1996

Second appearance in a film based on a John Grisham novel, "The Chamber"; played a white supremacist defended by his grandson (Chris O'Donnell)

1996

Played the straight man as a conservative U.S .senator in "The Birdcage," directed by Mike Nichols

1997

Portrayed the U.S. President possibly caught up in murder in "Absolute Power"

1998

In a nod to "The Conversation," played a surveillance expert who assists Will Smith in "Enemy of the State"

1998

Voiced the character of the fascistic General Mandible in the animated feature "Antz"

1998

Cast as a dignified movie star married to Susan Sarandon in "Twilight," also starring Paul Newman as a retired detective

1999

Published first novel <i>Wake of the Perdido Star</i>, co-written with undersea archaeologist Daniel Lenihan; duo co-authored three more novels: <i>Justice for None</i> (2004), <i>Escape from Andersonville</i> (2008) and <i>Payback at Morning Peak</i> (2011)

2000

Starred as a football coach in "The Replacements"

2000

Executive produced and starred in the crime drama "Under Suspicion"

2001

Appeared opposite Owen Wilson in the war drama "Behind Enemy Lines"

2001

Appeared in "The Mexican" in an uncredited cameo

2001

Landed featured role in "Heartbreakers," a comedy about a mother-daughter con artist team

2001

Played the rascally patriarch of a dysfunctional family of geniuses in "The Royal Tenenbaums"; Owen Wilson co-wrote script with director Wes Anderson

2003

Played a ruthless jury consultant in the thriller feature "Runaway Jury"

2004

Played a former president who runs for mayor of a small town against a local candidate in "Welcome to Mooseport"

Photo Collections

The Poseidon Adventure - Movie Posters
The Poseidon Adventure - Movie Posters
Marooned - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Marooned (1969), starring Gregory Peck, David Janssen, and Gene Hackman. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Bonnie and Clyde - Publicity Still
Here is a photo taken to help publicize Warner Bros' Bonnie and Clyde (1967), starring Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Gene Hackman. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Conversation - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for The Conversation (1974), starring Gene Hackman. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Superman: The Movie - Program
Here is the official Movie Program from Warner Bros' Superman: The Movie (1978), starring Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Margot Kidder, and Gene Hackman.
Bite the Bullet - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Columbia Pictures' Bite the Bullet (1975), starring Gene Hackman. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Mississippi Burning - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Orion's Mississippi Burning (1988), starring Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Split, The (1968) - You Get The Parade SPOILER here in that the outcome of the heist and a murder are revealed, but also the introduction of Gene Hackman, about 70 minutes into the feature, as cop Brill, confronted by head thief McClain (Jim Brown), demanding to know what the cops know, in the all-star football-themed caper The Split, 1968.
Zandy's Bride (1974) - I Told You No Frills Home from riding his California coastal ranch, the day after an apparent marital night rape, Zandy (Gene Hackman) returns to his mail-order wife Hannah (Liv Ullmann), the exact time period not established, Swedish director Jan Troell reluctant to move the camera, in Zandy's Bride, 1974.
Zandy's Bride (1974) - What Else Did You Lie About? Swedish director Jan Troell, having bitten off a big chunk of Big Sur landscape in the opening, brings rancher Zandy (Gene Hackman), into a town where he is immediately disappointed when he meets his mail-order bride (Liv Ullmann), in Zandy’s Bride, 1974.
I Never Sang For My Father (1970) - It Would Kill Your Mother Trips of all sorts being laid on Gene (Gene Hackman), a widowed professor recently returned from a trip west, by his retired parents Tom and Margaret (Melvyn Douglas, Dorothy Stickney), in I Never Sang For My Father, 1970, directed by Gilbert Cates.
I Never Sang For My Father (1970) - That Doesn't Sound Any Better 40-something widowed professor Gene (Gene Hackman) summoned to a New York area hospital after his mother’s unexpected heart attack, tries to console his father cranky Tom (Melvyn Douglas), whose mind wanders, in I Never Sang For My Father, directed by Gil Cates, from Robert W. Anderson’s play and screenplay.
Young Frankenstein (1974) - A Temporary Companion Actually borrowing from Bride Of Frankenstein, 1935, director Mel Brooks’ escaped monster (Peter Boyle) drops in on the altogether uncredited lonely blind monk played by Gene Hackman, in Young Frankenstein, from a screenplay by Brooks and star Gene Wilder.
Poseidon Adventure, The (1972) - Six Hundred Pound Swordfish Priest Gene Hackman leads survivors toward the hull of the flipped ocean liner, Roddy McDowall the injured waiter, Shelley Winters and Jack Albertson the retirees, Pamela Sue Martin a frightened teen, Carol Lynley the lounge singer, Ernest Borgnine the surly cop, Stella Stevens his increasingly disrobed wife, in The Poseidon Adventure, 1972.
Reds (1981) - What Haven't We Covered? Portland, Oregon, 1915, a somewhat-contrived version of the meeting of the principals (writer-director Warren Beatty as journalist John "Jack" Reed, Diane Keaton as native Louise Bryant), M. Emmet Walsh the pompous orator at a local civic club, early in Reds, 1981.
Reds (1981) - They Are Waiting For Your Example Moscow, 1917, writer-director Warren Beatty as American radical journalist John “Jack” Reed, with Diane Keaton as his colleague and wife Louise Bryant, swept into supporting a general strike, though not recreating a specific historic event, in Reds, 1981.
Reds (1981) - The Bolsheviks Are Small Potatoes Writer-director Warren Beatty as John Reed in New York, 1917, recovering from the removal of a diseased kidney, reads correspondence from lover Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton) in Paris, then gets news undermining hers, from journalist Pete Van Wherry (Gene Hackman), in Reds, 1981.
Under Fire (1983) - Smartest Guys In The World Following director Roger Spottiswoode’s action credit sequence, combat cameraman Russell Price (Nick Nolte) in Chad, 1979, hooks up with American mercenary pal Oates (Ed Harris), who updates him on revolutionary happenings around the world, in Under Fire, 1983.
Under Fire (1983) - Third World Elevators Covering the war in Chad, 1979, we meet radio correspondent Claire Stryder (Joanna Cassidy) and TV news veteran Grazier (Gene Hackman), who’s enjoying a sendoff party, which creates issues for them as a couple, photographer pal Price (Nick Nolte) joining, early in Roger Spottiswoode’s Under Fire, 1983.

Trailer

Firm, The (1993) -- (Original Trailer) Original trailer for producer-director Sydney Pollack’s hit adaptation of writer John Grisham’s The Firm, 1993, the first film based on a Grisham novel, starring Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, Wilford Brimley and Paul Sorvino.
Eureka (1983) -- (Original Trailer) From Nicolas Roeg’s largely forgotten historic thriller, loosely based on the life of Sir Harry Oakes, starring Gene Hackman, with Rutger Hauer, Theresa Russell, Mickey Rourke and Joe Pesci, the original trailer for Eureka, 1983.
Night Moves (1975) -- (Original Trailer) Original trailer for Arthur Penn’s highly-regarded private-eye drama Night Moves, 1975, starring Gene Hackman and Jennifer Warren, from an original screenplay by Alan Sharp.
Hawaii - (Original Trailer) Missionairies to the Hawaiian Islands fight nature, disease and their own passions in Hawaii (1966) starring Julie Andrews, Max von Sydow, and Richard Harris.
Scarecrow - (Original Trailer) Two hitchhikers (Al Pacino, Gene Hackman) with wildly different backgrounds become fast friends in Scarecrow (1973).
Split, The - (Original Trailer) Jim Brown heads an all-star cast in The Split (1968), about a heist planned during an L.A. Rams game.
Unforgiven (1992) - (Original Trailer) Clint Eastwood made and starred in the first Western to win a Best Picture Oscar® in sixty-one years, Unforgiven (1992).
Young Frankenstein - (Original Trailer) A neurosurgeon is unwillingly pulled into the family business in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein (1974).
French Connection, The - (Original Trailer) Five Oscars including Best Picture went to The French Connection (1971) based on the true story of New York narcotics detective "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman).
Reds -- (Original Trailer) Warren Beatty directed and co-starred, with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson in Reds, 1981, the story of John Reed, the American Communist who is buried in the Kremlin.
Superman II - (Original Trailer) Superman gives up his powers just as visitors arrive, three super-powered villains from Krypton, in Superman II (1980).
Superman: The Movie - (Original Trailer) The man of steel (Christopher Reeve) fights to save the world and his true love in the all-star spectacular Superman: The Movie (1978).

Family

Beatrice Gray
Grandmother
British; maternal grandmother; raised Hackman.
Eugene Ezra Hackman
Father
Pressman, printer. Walked out on family when Hackman was 13; reunited in 1970.
Lyda Hackman
Mother
Alcoholic; died in bed at age 59 on December 30, 1962 in a fire she accidentally set while smoking.
Richard Hackman
Brother
Born in 1942.
Christopher Hackman
Son
Born c. 1960; mother, Faye Maltese.
Elizabeth Hackman
Daughter
Mother, Faye Maltese.
Leslie Hackman
Daughter
Mother, Faye Maltese.

Companions

Faye Maltese
Wife
Secretary. Met in 1953; married on January 1, 1956; separated in 1982; divorced; mother of Hackman's three children.
Betsy Arakawa
Wife
Musician. Born c. 1961; Hawaiian; met when she was working at a health club at which Hackman was a member; together since 1984; married in December 1991.

Bibliography

"Wake of the Perdido Star"
Gene Hackman and Daniel Lenihan, Newmarket (1999)

Notes

When he is in New York, Hackman teaches at the New Actors Workshop, a two-year professional actor training program.

In addition to writing novels, Hackman also paints landscapes.

"It becomes tougher and tougher for me to be directed. It isn't that I feel I know everything. I just find myself being frustrated. I'm kind of impossible." --Hackman to The New York Times Magazine, March 19, 1989.

"He is Everyman on the one hand, and yet, he's an Ubermensch. He has a broad spectrum of gifts, a combination of sensitivity and toughness. That's why he's done what he's done." --Warren Beatty to Premiere, February 1991.

Hackman had heart surgery in June 1990 after which he slowed down his work load. "The illness left the actor and sometime sketch artist determined to move to the marble quarries of Carrera, Italy, to become a sculptor. But "Unforgiven" changed things ... " --From "Tough Guys Don't Talk" in Newsday, June 19, 1994.

"Gene is not your run-of-the-mill actor. He's really special, and right now he's at the top of his form--almost a Zen-like place in his acting, where you don't see the effort." --Sydney Pollack to Newsday, June 19, 1994.

"When you start having a little more confidence in what you do as an actor, that starts to show, and then people start giving you more and more confident characters to play, and then you become typed with that. I'm not a tough guy at all--but I'm capable of playing some of those guys." --Gene Hackman quoted in Us, March 1996.

"I like to work. But I don't like the business. All the backstabbing. The uncomfortable atmosphere on some sets. But it's a trade-off." --Hackman quoted in USA Today, October 11, 1996.

"Gene charges a lot of money for what he does. And he gives you your money's worth. And that's the most you can say about anyone, whether they're a waiter or an actor." --Clint Eastwood to USA Today, October 11, 1996.

"I'm not saying he's the only great American actor, but there's no better American actor alive today." --director Robert Benton (who guided Hackman in "Twilight") quoted by Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press, March 11, 1998.

On his status as an "Everyman", Hackman told the Associated Press (March 11, 1998): "One would like to think of oneself as being special, as being artistic or romantic. Not common. I mean, Everyman means common in some kind of way. And common doesn't denote any kind of artistic talent or artistic intent. So, in some ways, it sounds to me like a put-down. But I don't think people necessarily mean it that way."

"Things haven't always gone the way I've wanted, but look, I know I've been very lucky. I've had more than my fair share of success, and the audiences are still good to me." --Hackman on being considered a character actor, to The Daily Telegraph, July 20, 2000.

"When I'm acting I really feel that I'm doing what I was set on Earth to do, the only thing that I really know how to do well." --Gene Hackman

Hackman has provided the voice-overs for numerous TV commercials, perhaps most notably for United Airlines.

"The Royal Tenenbaums" director Wes Anderson on Hackman to the Los Angeles Times (December 16, 2001): "There's something very charismatic in him, even when he's being his worst. There is something about him that gives him a kind of gravity that is pretty rare. When they are playing a scene where there is sadness or something gentle, he can be extremely sad and gentle. When they are playing a scene where they need to turn on the rage, he can be scary at the drop of a hat. That is the way he will attack a scene -- with everything he's got." December 16, 2001.

"Three movies is slowing down for me. I have that old thing in me from the early days when you couldn't get a job and you want to take everything that's offered to you. I don't know if I've ever had a moment when I 'made it' in Hollywood. I don't think about that." -- Hackman on "Heist", "Behind Enemy Lines" and "The Royal Tenenbaums", released in quick succession in November and December of 2001, quoted in Boston Herald, December 21, 2001.

"I just knew I could; I really did. Every Saturday if I could get a quarter to go [to the movies], I'd go, and when I'd leave, I'd look in the mirror and be stunned that I didn't look like James Cagney. I'd be so in tune with what he was doing - I'd become that guy - that a real period of depression would follow. [I'd think], 'How am I gonna be that guy if I don't look like that guy?' I finally realized that I could just be me, and if I was good enough, that would work." --Hackman to Premiere magazine on how he always knew he could act