Hackman at a book signing in 2008
|Born||Eugene Allen Hackman |
January 30, 1930
San Bernardino, California, U.S.
|Residence||Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Pasadena Playhouse|
|Occupation||Actor and author|
|Home town||Danville, Illinois, U.S.|
Faye Maltese (m. 1956; div. 1986)
|Awards||Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, BAFTAs Award|
Eugene Allen "Gene" Hackman (born January 30, 1930) is a retired American actor and novelist.
In a career that spanned five decades, Hackman has been nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two, including best actor in The French Connection. In addition Hackman has also won three Golden Globes and two BAFTAs. He first came to fame in 1967 with his performance as Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde. His major subsequent films include The French Connection (1971), in which he played Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle; The Poseidon Adventure (1972); The Conversation (1974); Superman (1978), in which he played arch-villain Lex Luthor; Hoosiers (1986); Mississippi Burning (1988); Unforgiven (1992); The Firm (1993); Crimson Tide (1995); Get Shorty (1995); The Birdcage (1996); Enemy of the State (1998); and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001).
Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, the son of Lyda (née Gray) and Eugene Ezra Hackman. He has a brother, Richard. According to a plaque in a city park, he worked for a time as a dog catcher for the local animal shelter. His family moved frequently, finally settling in Danville, Illinois, where they lived in the house of his English-born maternal grandmother, Beatrice. Hackman's father operated the printing press for the Commercial-News, a local paper. Hackman's parents divorced in 1943 and his father subsequently left the family.
Gene lived briefly in Storm Lake, Iowa and his sophomore home room photograph is in the 1945 Storm Lake High School "Breeze" year-book. At the age of sixteen, Hackman left home to join the United States Marine Corps, where he served four-and-a-half years as a field radio operator. After his discharge, 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.
In 1956, Hackman began pursuing an acting career; 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 California born actors and close friends, sharing apartments in various two-person combinations 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." The three former roommates have since earned eighteen Academy Award nominations, with five wins.
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 1968, he appeared in an episode of "I Spy", in the role of "Hunter", in the episode "Happy Birthday...Everybody". In 1969, he played a ski coach in Downhill Racer and an astronaut in Marooned. Also in that year, he played the role of a member of a barnstorming skydiving team that entertained mostly at county fairs: The Gypsy Moths. He nearly accepted the role of Mike Brady for the upcoming TV series, The Brady Bunch, but was advised by his agent to decline in exchange for a more promising role, which he did.
In 1971, he was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award again, this time for 1970's 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 performance as New York City Detective Jimmy "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), as well as in that year's sequel French Connection II. In 1975 he also appeared in the highly regarded—but little viewed—film Night Moves, receiving a BAFTA nomination for lead actor. He appeared in the star-studded war film A Bridge Too Far (1977), as Polish General Stanislaw 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 an angioplasty, 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. In 1993 he appeared in Geronimo: An American Legend as Brigadier General George Crook. 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 Sharon Stone, 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.
Hackman starred in the David Mamet crime film Heist, as an aging professional thief of considerable skill who is forced into one final job and the comedy Heartbreakers alongside Sigourney Weaver, Ray Liotta and Jennifer Love Hewitt. 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. Hackman's 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.
Other work and retirement
Together with undersea archaeologist Daniel Lenihan, Hackman has written three historical fiction novels: Wake of the Perdido Star (1999), a sea adventure of the 19th century, Justice for None (2004), a Depression-era tale of murder, and Escape from Andersonville (2008) about a prison escape during the Civil War. Payback at Morning Peak (2011) is his first solo effort, a story of love and revenge set in the Old West.
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 believed his acting career was over. In 2008, while promoting his third novel, Hackman confirmed that he had retired from acting. When asked during a GQ interview in 2011 if he would ever come out of retirement to do one more film, Hackman said he might consider it "...if I could do it in my own house, maybe, without them disturbing anything and just one or two people."
Hackman's first wife was Faye Maltese. They had three children, Christopher Allen, Elizabeth Jean and Leslie Anne. The couple divorced in 1986 after three decades of marriage. In 1991, Hackman married Betsy Arakawa. They live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Betsy is co-owner of an upscale retail home furnishings store in Santa Fe called Pandora's, Inc.
Hackman competed in Sports Car Club of America races driving an open wheeled Formula Ford in the late seventies. In 1983, Hackman drove a Dan Gurney Team Toyota in the 24 Hours of Daytona Endurance Race. He also won the Long Beach Grand Prix Celebrity Race.
Hackman is an avid fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars and regularly attended Jaguars games as a guest of then-head coach Jack Del Rio. He is friends with Del Rio from Del Rio's playing days at the University of Southern California.
On October 30, 2012, Hackman slapped a homeless man he knew in downtown Santa Fe. Hackman told police that the homeless man became angry when he was refused money, called him a name and moved in close in a "threatening manner". The actor told officers that's when he was forced to slap the man, to fend him off. No charges were filed as it was determined by police that Hackman acted in self-defense.
- His middle name is "Allen", according to the California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. At Ancestry.com
- "Gene Hackman Biography (1930–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- Norman, Michael (1989-03-19). "HOLLYWOOD'S UNCOMMON EVERYMAN". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
- Leman, Kevin (2007). What Your Childhood Memories Say about You: And What You Can Do about It. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. p. 154. ISBN 1-4143-1186-9.
- Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2001
- "Gene Hackman profile". Eonline.com. Retrieved 2010-08-11.[dead link]
- "Celebrity Roommates". Xfinity Entertainment. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- Stevenson, Laura. "Robert Duvall, Hollywood's No. 1 Second Lead, Breaks for Starlight". People. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
- "I Spy" Happy Birthday Everybody (1968) - Plot Summary
- "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'". Findarticles.com. 2002-11-14. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- Blair, Iain (2008-06-05). "Just a Minute With: Gene Hackman on his retirement". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- Brady, James (December 30, 2001). "In Step with Gene Hackman". Parade (The Blade). Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- By BART HUBBUCHThe Times-Union (2005-11-29). "JAGUARS NOTEBOOK: Chatter angers Cardinals". Jacksonville.com. Retrieved 2012-01-14.
- "Will Oscar reward the Golden Globes winners?". CNN. 2003-01-23.
- "Unforgiving! Gene Hackman slaps homeless man that verbally accosted wife". NY Daily News. 2012-10-31.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gene Hackman.|
- Gene Hackman at the Internet Movie Database
- Gene Hackman at AllRovi
- Gene Hackman at the TCM Movie Database
- Gene Hackman at the Internet Broadway Database
- Gene Hackman at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
|Preceded by |
for Atom Man vs. Superman
|Actors portraying Lex Luthor |
for Superman, Superman II and Superman IV
|Succeeded by |
Scott James Wells
for Superboy (TV series)