Gene Hackman

Actor, TV assistant director, TV studio floor manager
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 ... Read more »
Born: 01/30/1930 in San Bernardino, California, USA


Actor (108)

Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story 2012 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale 2009 - 2010 (TV Show)


AFI's 100 Years...AFI's 10 Top 10 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)


Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and The Holocaust 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)


Welcome to Mooseport 2004 (Movie)

Monroe Cole (Actor)

Runaway Jury 2003 (Movie)

Rankin Fitch (Actor)

The 60th Annual Golden Globe Awards 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)


Behind Enemy Lines 2001 (Movie)

Reigart (Actor)

Heartbreakers 2001 (Movie)

William B Tensy (Actor)

Heist 2001 (Movie)

Joe Moore (Actor)

History Vs. Hollywood 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)


The Royal Tenenbaums 2001 (Movie)

Royal Tenenbaum (Actor)

The Replacements 2000 (Movie)

Jim McGinty (Actor)

Under Suspicion 2000 (Movie)

Henry Hearst (Actor)

Antz 1998 (Movie)

of Mandible (Voice)

Enemy of the State 1998 (Movie)

Brill (Actor)

Twilight 1998 (Movie)

Jack Ames (Actor)

Absolute Power 1997 (Movie)

President Richmond (Actor)

Sports on the Silver Screen 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)


Star Trek: 30 Years and Beyond 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)


Extreme Measures 1996 (Movie)

Dr Lawrence Myrick (Actor)

The Birdcage 1996 (Movie)

Senator Keeley (Actor)

The Chamber 1996 (Movie)

Sam Cayhall (Actor)

100 Years of the Hollywood Western 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)


Crimson Tide 1995 (Movie)

Captain Ramsey (Actor)

Get Shorty 1995 (Movie)

Harry Zimm (Actor)

The Quick and the Dead 1995 (Movie)

Herod (Actor)

The 66th Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)


Wyatt Earp 1994 (Movie)

Nicholas Earp (Actor)

50th Annual Golden Globe Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)


And the Winner Is 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)


Clint Eastwood -- The Man From Malpaso 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)


Geronimo: An American Legend 1993 (Movie)

Brigadier General George Crook (Actor)

The 65th Annual Academy Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)


The Firm 1993 (Movie)

Avery Tolar (Actor)

Champlin on Film 1989 - 1992 (TV Show)


Eastwood & Co. Making "Unforgiven" 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)


The 46th Annual Tony Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)


Unforgiven 1992 (Movie)

Little Bill Daggett (Actor)

Class Action 1991 (Movie)

Jedediah Tucker Ward (Actor)

Company Business 1991 (Movie)

Sam Boyd (Actor)

Loose Cannons 1990 (Movie)

Mac (Actor)

Narrow Margin 1990 (Movie)

Richard Caulfield (Actor)

Postcards From the Edge 1990 (Movie)

Lowell (Actor)

The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)


The Package 1989 (Movie)

Sergeant Johnny Gallagher (Actor)

Another Woman 1988 (Movie)

Larry (Actor)

Bat 21 1988 (Movie)

Lieutenant Colonel Iceal Hambleton (Actor)

Full Moon in Blue Water 1988 (Movie)

Floyd (Actor)

Mississippi Burning 1988 (Movie)

Anderson (Actor)

Split Decisions 1988 (Movie)

Dan McGuinn (Actor)

Charles Bragg: One of a Kind 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)


No Way Out 1987 (Movie)

David Brice (Actor)

Superman IV: the Quest for Peace 1987 (Movie)

Lex Luthor (Actor)

Hoosiers 1986 (Movie)

Coach Norman Dale (Actor)

Power 1986 (Movie)

Wilfred Buckley (Actor)

Twice in A Lifetime 1986 (Movie)

Harry Mackenzie (Actor)

Target 1985 (Movie)

Walter Lloyd (Actor)

The Night of 100 Stars II 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)


Eureka 1984 (Movie)

Jack McCann (Actor)

Misunderstood 1984 (Movie)

Ned (Actor)

Two of A Kind 1983 (Movie)

of God (Voice)

Uncommon Valor 1983 (Movie)

Colonel Jason Rhodes (Actor)

Under Fire 1982 (Movie)

Alex Grazier (Actor)

All Night Long 1981 (Movie)

George Dupler (Actor)

Reds 1981 (Movie)

Pete Van Wherry (Actor)

Superman II 1981 (Movie)

Lex Luthor (Actor)

Superman 1978 (Movie)

Lex Luthor (Actor)

March Or Die 1977 (Movie)

Major William Sherman Foster (Actor)

A Bridge Too Far 1976 (Movie)

Major General Stanislaw Sosabowski (Actor)

The Domino Principle 1976 (Movie)

Roy Tucker (Actor)

Bite the Bullet 1975 (Movie)

Sam Clayton (Actor)

Lucky Lady 1975 (Movie)

Kibby (Actor)

Night Moves 1975 (Movie)

Harry Moseby (Actor)

The French Connection II 1975 (Movie)

James "Popeye" Doyle (Actor)

Young Frankenstein 1974 (Movie)

Blindman (Actor)

Zandy's Bride 1974 (Movie)

Zandy Allan (Actor)

Scarecrow 1973 (Movie)

Max (Actor)

The Conversation 1973 (Movie)

Harry Caul (Actor)

Cisco Pike 1972 (Movie)

Corrupt Cop (Actor)

Prime Cut 1972 (Movie)


The Poseidon Adventure 1972 (Movie)

Reverend Frank Scott (Actor)

Doctors' Wives 1971 (Movie)

Dave Randolph (Actor)

The French Connection 1971 (Movie)

Jimmy Doyle (Actor)

I Never Sang For My Father 1970 (Movie)

Gene Garrison (Actor)

The Hunting Party 1970 (Movie)

Brandt Ruger (Actor)

Downhill Racer 1969 (Movie)

Eugene Claire (Actor)

Marooned 1969 (Movie)

Buzz Lloyd (Actor)

The Gypsy Moths 1969 (Movie)

Joe Browdy (Actor)

Riot 1968 (Movie)

Red Fletcher (Actor)

The Split 1968 (Movie)

Lieutenant Walter Brill (Actor)

Banning 1967 (Movie)

Tommy Del Gaddo (Actor)

Bonnie and Clyde 1967 (Movie)

Buck Barrow (Actor)

A Covenant With Death 1966 (Movie)

Harmsworth (Actor)

First to Fight 1966 (Movie)

Sgt Tweed (Actor)

Hawaii 1966 (Movie)

Reverend John Whipple (Actor)

Lilith 1964 (Movie)

Norman (Actor)

Mad Dog Coll 1961 (Movie)

Cop (Actor)

Heroes of Iwo Jima (TV Show)


Shadow on the Land (TV Show)


The DuPont Show of the Week (TV Show)

Producer (1)

Under Suspicion 2000 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)


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.


Betsy Arakawa

Met when she was working at a health club at which Hackman was a member Began dating in 1984 Married in December 1991

Beatrice Gray

British; maternal grandmother; raised Hackman

Eugene Hackman

Walked out on family when Hackman was 13 Reunited with son in 1970

Lyda Hackman

Was an alcoholic; died in bed at age 59 on Dec. 30, 1962 in a fire she accidentally set while smoking

Elizabeth Hackman


Leslie Hackman


Christopher Hackman

Born c. 1960; mother, Faye Maltese

Richard Hackman

Born in 1942

Faye Maltese

Met in 1953 Married on Jan. 1, 1956; mother of Hackman's three children Separated in 1982 Divorced in 1986


University of Illinois

Urbana , Illinois
attended for six months

Art Students League of New York

New York , New York

quit high school at age 16

Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena , California 1958
with classmate Dustin Hoffman, dubbed the two "least likely to succeed"; asked to leave after three months

University of Illinois

Urbana , Illinois
attended for six months

studied acting under George Morrison, a former teacher with the Lee Strasberg Institute in NYC

School of Radio Technique

New York , New York 1952



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


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


Appeared in "The Mexican" in an uncredited cameo


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


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


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


Starred as a football coach in "The Replacements"


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


Published first novel Wake of the Perdido Star, co-written with undersea archaeologist Daniel Lenihan; duo co-authored three more novels: Justice for None (2004), Escape from Andersonville (2008) and Payback at Morning Peak (20


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


"Retired" from acting for four years


Reprised role of Popeye Doyle in "French Connection II"


Reteamed with director Arthur Penn for "Night Moves"


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Broadway debut, "Children at Their Games"


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


Appeared with the improvisational troupe The Premise in Greenwich Village


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


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


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


New York stage debut in "Chaparral"


Broke both legs in a motorcycle accident


Joined the Marines at age 16 after quitting school

Family moved frequently in his early childhood

Moved to California to attend the Pasadena Playhouse acting school; voted "Least Likely to Succeed" along with classmate Dustin Hoffman

In the 1950s, worked throughout the Midwest as a radio announcer and in NYC at various jobs

While serving in China, worked as a disc jockey for U.S. Armed Forces Radio

Asked to leave Playhouse school; returned to NYC

Settled in Danville, IL; raised by maternal grandmother

Bonus Trivia


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


In addition to writing novels, Hackman also painted landscapes.


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


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."


Hackman provided the voiceovers for numerous TV commercials, perhaps most notably for United Airlines.


On Jan. 13, 2012, Hackman was riding a bicycle in Key West, FL, when he was reportedly struck by a car. He suffered bumps and bruises, and was airlifted to a hospital in Miami. Hackman was in stable condition and released the same day.