Gene Hackman (Actor) - The French Connection
 
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Updated: 3/20/14

Name: Gene Hackman

Born: January 30, 1930, San Bernardino, California

Claim To Fame: Known for The French Connection, Superman the Movie, The Royal Tenenbaums

Family 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 three decades of marriage. In 1991, Hackman married Betsy Arakawa. They live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Info: Hackman began pursuing an acting career in 1956 when he joined the Pasadena Playhouse in California, where he became friend with fellow aspiring actor Dustin Hoffman. The pair were voted "The Least Likely to Suceed."

Hackman was determine to prove them wrong and headed to New York City, where he began performing in several Off-Broadway plays.

After co-starring in the play Any Wednesday with actress Sandy Dennis in 1964, Hackman finally proved himself enough to earn film work. His first role was in Lilith, with Warren Beatty in the leading role.

He earned an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his role as Buck Barrow in 1967's Bonnie and Clyde. He appeared in a few television roles, and also accepted the role of Mike Brady in the TV series, The Brady Bunch, but declined as his agent's persuasion.

In 1971, Hackman earned another Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination for his performance in I Never Sang for My Father. The following year, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as New York City Detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in The French Connection.

Hackman went on to star in 1972's The Poseidon Adventure and Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation (1974). He also appeared as the blind hermit in Young Frankenstein.

In 1978, he played criminal mastermind Lex Luthor in Superman: The Movie (1978), and reprised the role in its 1980 and 1987 sequels. In the 1980s, he earned another Best Actor nomination for Mississippi Burning, and appeared in 1987's No Way Out opposite Kevin Costner.

He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the sadistic sheriff "Little" Bill Daggett in the western Unforgiven directed by Clint Eastwood. During the 1990s, he was also seen in Geronimo: An American Legend, The Firm, The Chamber, Get Shorty, The Quick and the Dead, Crimson Tide, The Birdcage, Enemy of the State, and Absolute Power.

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Trivia: Has a brother Richard.

His father operated the printing press for the Commercial-News, a local paper.

Left home at the age of 16 to join the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served four-and-a-half years as a field radio operator.

His mother died in 1962 as a result of a fire she accidentally set while smoking.

Competed in Sports Car Club of America races driving an open wheeled Formula Ford in the late seventies.

Drove a Dan Gurney Team Toyota in the 24 Hours of Daytona Endurance Race in 1983. He also won the Long Beach Grand Prix Celebrity Race.

His wife Betsy is co-owner of an upscale retail home furnishings store in Santa Fe called Pandora's, Inc.

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

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Where Are They Now: 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. In 2008, he confirmed he had retired from acting.

Aside from acting, Hackman has written three historical fiction novels along with undersea archaeologist Daniel Leniham: 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. In 2011, he released his first solo effort, Payback at Morning Peak.

In 2011, Hackman appeared on the Fox Sports Radio show, The Loose Cannons, where he discussed his career and novels with Pat O'Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic "The Brick" Jacobs.

In October 12, Hackman made headlines for slapping a homeless man he knew in Santa Fe, which he claimed to have done in self defense. The actor told police that he had to fend off the man because he got angry when hewas refused money and moved in a "threatening manner." No charges were filed.

Hackman can regularly be seen at Jacksonville Jaguars games as he is an avid fan.

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