January 30, 1930
Eugene Alden Hackman
If I start to become a star, I'll lose contact with the normal guys I play best
Gene dropped out of school at 16 to join the marines. Discharged, he moved to New York and from job to job. Gene studied commercial drawing and radio technique, journalism and TV production.
In his late 20s, he decided that he wanted to become an actor. He began getting small roles off Broadway and on TV. His break came with Bonnie and Clyde (1967). But in 1971, Hackman finally scored a leading role as New York policeman Popeye Doyle in The French connection.
Gene followed this triumph with several other true-to-life performances, most memorably in The conversation (1974).
He took a surprising turn by playing the comic villain Lex Luthor in the smash hit Superman (1978) after which he took several years off. In the early 1980s, Gene made less successful film choices but in the latter half of the decade he kept hammering out one strong performance after another.
In the early 1990s, Hackman underwent surgery for heart problems, but he continued to work steadily. In 2008 he announced that his days on the big screen had ended.1
Since 1999 Gene has published three historical novels and he is now focusing his talents on fiction instead. He says he prefers writing to the option of playing “grandfathers or doddering old men”.
- 1993 Won Supporting Role for: Unforgiven
- 1989 Nominated Leading Role for: Mississippi Burning
- 1972 Won Leading Role for: The French Connection
- 1971 Nominated Supporting Role for: I Never Sang for My Father
- 1968 Nominated Supporting Role for: Bonnie and Clyde
- Unforgiven (1992)
- The conversation (1974)
- Young Frankenstein (1974)
- Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
- The French connection (1971)
- The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
- Mississippi Burning (1988)
- Get Shorty (1995)
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