Eugene Allen Hackman (born January 30, 1930) is a retired American actor and novelist. In a career that spanned more than six decades, Hackman won two Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, one Screen Actors Guild Award, and two BAFTAs.
Hackman at a book signing in June 2008
Eugene Allen Hackman
January 30, 1930
|Residence||Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Pasadena Playhouse|
|Years active||1956–2004, 2016-2017|
(m. 1956; div. 1986)
|Awards||2 Academy Awards, 4 Golden Globe Awards, 1 SAG Award, 2 BAFTA Awards.|
|Years of service||1946–1951|
Nominated for five Academy Awards, Hackman won Best Actor for his role as Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in the critically acclaimed thriller The French Connection (1971), and Best Supporting Actor as "Little" Bill Daggett in the Clint Eastwood Western Unforgiven (1992). His other nominations for Best Supporting Actor came with the films Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and I Never Sang for My Father (1970), with a second Best Actor nomination for Mississippi Burning (1988).
Hackman's other major film roles included The Poseidon Adventure (1972), The Conversation (1974), French Connection II (1975), Superman: The Movie (1978) — as arch-villain Lex Luthor — Hoosiers (1986), The Firm (1993), Crimson Tide (1995), Enemy of the State (1998), Behind Enemy Lines (2001), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) , and Welcome to Mooseport (2004).
Early life and education
Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, the son of Eugene Ezra Hackman and Anna Lyda Elizabeth (née Gray). He has one brother, Richard. He has Pennsylvania Dutch (German), English, and Scottish ancestry; his mother was born in Lambton, Ontario. 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. His parents divorced in 1943 and his father subsequently left the family. Hackman decided that he wanted to become an actor when he was ten years old.
Hackman lived briefly in Storm Lake, Iowa and spent his sophomore year at Storm Lake High School. He left home at age 16 and lied about his age to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. He served four and a half years as a field radio operator. He was stationed in China (Qingdao and later in Shanghai). When the Communist Revolution conquered the mainland in 1949, Hackman was assigned to Hawaii and Japan. Following his discharge in 1951, he moved to New York and had several jobs. His mother died in 1962 as a result of a fire she accidentally started while smoking.
In 1956 he 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, they were later voted "The Least Likely To Succeed". Furthermore, Hackman got the all time lowest score at the Pasadena Playhouse at the time. Determined to prove them wrong, Hackman moved to 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. To support himself between acting jobs, he was working as a uniformed doorman at a Howard Johnson restaurant in New York when, as bad luck would have it, he ran into a despised Pasadena Playhouse instructor who once told him he was not good enough to be an actor. Reinforcing "The Least Likely To Succeed" vote, the man said to him, "See, Hackman, I told you you wouldn't amount to anything." From then on, Hackman was determined to become the finest actor he possibly could. The three former roommates have since earned 19 Academy Award nominations for acting, with five wins.
Hackman got various bit roles, for example on the TV series Route 66 in 1963, and 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 he 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". That same year he starred in the CBS Playhouse episode "My Father and My Mother" and the dystopian television film Shadow on the Land. In 1969 he played a ski coach in Downhill Racer and an astronaut in Marooned. Also that year, he played a member of a barnstorming skydiving team that entertained mostly at county fairs, a movie which also inspired many to pursue skydiving and has a cult-like status amongst skydivers as a result: The Gypsy Moths. He nearly accepted the role of Mike Brady for the TV series, The Brady Bunch, but was advised by his agent to decline in exchange for a more promising role, which he did.
Hackman was nominated for a second Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role in I Never Sang for My Father (1970). He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as New York City Detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in The French Connection (1971), 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 Blindman in Young Frankenstein.
He appeared as one of Teddy Roosevelt's former Rough Riders in the Western horse-race saga Bite the Bullet (1975). He reprised his Oscar winning role as Doyle in the sequel French Connection II (1975), and was part of an all-star cast in the war film A Bridge Too Far (1977), playing Polish General Stanisław Sosabowski. Hackman showed a talent for both comedy and the "slow burn" as criminal mastermind Lex Luthor in Superman: The Movie (1978), a role he would reprise in its 1980 and 1987 sequels.
director of Mississippi Burning (1988)
Hackman alternated between leading and supporting roles during the 1980s, with prominent roles in Reds (1981) — directed by and starring Warren Beatty — Under Fire (1983), Hoosiers (1986) (which an American Film Institute poll in 2008 voted the fourth-greatest film of all time in the sports genre), No Way Out (1987) and Mississippi Burning (1988), where he was nominated for a second Best Actor Oscar.
Hackman appeared with Anne Archer in Narrow Margin (1990), a remake of the 1952 film The Narrow Margin. In 1992, he played the sadistic sheriff "Little" Bill Daggett in the Western Unforgiven directed by Clint Eastwood and written by David Webb Peoples. Hackman had pledged to avoid violent roles, but Eastwood convinced him to take the part, which earned him a second Oscar, this time for Best Supporting Actor. The film also won Best Picture.
In 1993 he appeared in Geronimo: An American Legend as Brigadier General George Crook, and co-starred with Tom Cruise as a corrupt lawyer in The Firm, a legal thriller based on the John Grisham novel of the same name. Hackman would appear in a second film based on a John Grisham novel, playing a convict on death row in The Chamber (1996).
Other notable films Hackman appeared in during the 1990s include Wyatt Earp (1994) (as Nicholas Porter Earp, Wyatt Earp's father), The Quick and the Dead (1995) opposite Sharon Stone, Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, and as submarine Captain Frank Ramsey alongside Denzel Washington in Crimson Tide (1995). He reunited with Clint Eastwood in Absolute Power (1997), and co-starred with Will Smith in Enemy of the State (1998), his character reminiscent of the one he had portrayed in The Conversation.
Hackman co-starred with Owen Wilson in Behind Enemy Lines (2001), and appeared in the David Mamet crime thriller Heist (2001), 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 (2001), and in another John Grisham legal drama, Runaway Jury (2003), at long last getting to make a picture with his long-time friend Dustin Hoffman. In 2004, Hackman appeared alongside Ray Romano in the comedy Welcome to Mooseport, his final film acting role to date.
Hackman was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his "outstanding contribution to the entertainment field" in 2003.
Retirement from acting
On July 7, 2004, Hackman gave a rare interview to Larry King, where he announced that he had no future film projects lined up and believed his acting career was over. In 2008, while promoting his third novel, he 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, he 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." In 2016 he narrated the Smithsonian Channel documentary The Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jima. In 2018, Hackman made an uncredited cameo appearance in Clint Eastwood's film The Mule, playing the role of an old friend at the convention in several of the early scenes in the movie.
Career as a novelist
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 American Civil War. His first solo effort, a story of love and revenge set in the Old West titled Payback at Morning Peak, was released in 2011. A police thriller, Pursuit, followed in 2013.
Hackman's first marriage was to Faye Maltese. They had three children: Christopher Allen, Elizabeth Jean, and Leslie Anne Hackman. The couple divorced in 1986 after three decades of marriage. In 1991 he married Betsy Arakawa. They have a home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In the late 1970s, Hackman competed in Sports Car Club of America races driving an open wheeled Formula Ford. In 1983 he 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 underwent an angioplasty in 1990.
He 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.
In January 2012 the then 81-year-old Hackman was riding a bicycle in the Florida Keys when he was struck by a car.
- Children From Their Games by Irwin Shaw at the Morosco Theatre (April 1963)
- A Rainy Day in Newark by Howard Teichmann at the Belasco Theatre (October 1963)
- Come to the Palace of Sin by Michael Shurtleff at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (1963)
- Any Wednesday by Muriel Resnik at the Music Box Theatre and the George Abbott Theatre (1964–1966)
- Poor Richard by Jean Kerr with Alan Bates and Shirley Knight at the Helen Hayes Theatre (1964–1965)
- The Natural Look by Leonora Thuna at the Longacre Theatre (1967)
- Fragments and The Basement by Murray Schisgal at the Cherry Lane Theatre (1967)
- Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman with Glenn Close and Richard Dreyfuss, directed by Mike Nichols, at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre (1992)
Works or publications
- Hackman, Gene, and Daniel Lenihan. Wake of the Perdido Star. New York: Newmarket Press, 1999. ISBN 978-1-557-04398-6.
- Hackman, Gene, and Daniel Lenihan. Justice for None. New York: St. Martins Press, 2004. ISBN 978-0-312-32425-4.
- Hackman, Gene, and Daniel Lenihan. Escape from Andersonville: A Novel of the Civil War. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-312-36373-4.
- Hackman, Gene. Payback at Morning Peak: A Novel of the American West. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc, 2011. ISBN 978-1-451-62356-7.
- Hackman, Gene. Pursuit. New York: Pocket Books, 2013. ISBN 978-1-451-62357-4.
- "Hackman, Eugene, Cpl". www.marines.togetherweserved.com. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
- 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
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- 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.
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- "1945 Storm Lake High Yearbook". classmates.com. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2001
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- Meryman, Richard (March 2004). "Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, and Robert Duvall: Three Friends who Went from Rags to Riches". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- "VINTAGE MOVIES: "THE FRENCH CONNECTION"". Magnet. 7 August 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- Roberts, Jerry (June 5, 2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Scarecrow Press. p. 500. ISBN 9780810863781. Retrieved February 3, 2017 – via Google Books.
- "You'll never watch 'The Brady Bunch' the same way again after reading these 12 facts". Me TV. 9 June 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- "Weekend Top 10, Aug. 3, 2018". Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette. Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- Gonthier, David F. and O'Brien, Timothy M. The Films of Alan Parker, 1976-2003, McFarland (2015) p. 167
- "MAFFEI: 'Hoosiers' still a classic after 25 years". San Diego Union Tribune. San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
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- "FILM REVIEW; Forget the Girl and Gold; Look for the Chemistry -". New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
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- "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. Archived from the original on 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- Blair, Iain (2008-06-05). "Just a Minute With: Gene Hackman on his retirement". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- Michael Hainey (2011-06-01). "Eighty-one Years. Seventy-nine Movies. Two Oscars. Not One Bad Performance". GQ. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
- Smithsonian Channel.com: Sneak Peek: The Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jima, archived from the original on 2017-09-13, retrieved 2018-10-31
- "Hackman's, Bergen's talents shine on film, in books". Bouldercityreview. Bouldercityreview. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- "Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jima': Gene Hackman narrates". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- Blair, Ian (5 June 2008). Tourtellotte, Bob; Reaney, Patricia (eds.). "Just a Minute With: Gene Hackman on his retirement". Reuters. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
- Daniel, Douglass K. (30 July 2011). "'Payback at Morning Peak': Actor Gene Hackman revisits the West — as a writer". Seattle Times. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
- Ross, Shane (6 August 2000). "The Gene genie works his magic off screen". Irish Independent. INM Website. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- Brady, James (December 30, 2001). "In Step with Gene Hackman". Parade. The Blade. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
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- "Police: Hackman knew homeless man he slapped in NM". The Associated Press, AP Regional State Report - New Mexico. Nov 1, 2012.
- Finke, Nikki (13 March 1998). "PLEASURES OF THE ROAD : TRACK STARS : Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Perry King and Lorenzo Lamas rap on racing". LA Times. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- Siano, Joseph (23 October 2002). "ON THE TRACK; Movie Stars as Racecar Drivers: What's Their Motivation?". NY Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
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- "Grand Prix of Long Beach 2016 Fan Guide" (PDF). Grand Prix of Long Beach. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
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- Parziale, James (13 April 2013). "Most famous fan of every NFL team". MSN.com. p. 15. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
- Parziale, James (20 October 2016). "Most famous fan of every NFL team". Fox Sports. FOX. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
- BART HUBBUCHThe Times-Union (2005-11-29). "JAGUARS NOTEBOOK: Chatter angers Cardinals". Jacksonville.com. Archived from the original on 2012-01-04. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
- "Gene Hackman struck by car while riding bike". CNN Entertainment. 14 January 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
- "Star Rote for Gene Hackman". The New York Times. 31 August 1964. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gene Hackman.|
- Gene Hackman at AllMovie
- Gene Hackman on IMDb
- Gene Hackman at the TCM Movie Database
- Gene Hackman at the Internet Broadway Database
- Gene Hackman at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
George C. Scott
| Academy Award for Best Actor
for Atom Man vs. Superman
| Actors portraying Lex Luthor
for Superman, Superman II and Superman IV
Scott James Wells
for Superboy (TV series)