Gene Hackman Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (102)  | Personal Quotes (48)  | Salary (4)

Overview (3)

Born in San Bernardino, California, USA
Birth NameEugene Allen Hackman
Height 6' 1½" (1.87 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Eugene Allen Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, the son of Anna Lyda Elizabeth (Gray) and Eugene Ezra Hackman, who operated a newspaper printing press. He is of Pennsylvania Dutch (German), English, and Scottish ancestry, partly by way of Canada, where his mother was born. After several moves, his family settled in Danville, Illinois. Gene grew up in a broken home, which he left at the age of sixteen for a hitch with the US Marines. Moving to New York after being discharged, he worked in a number of menial jobs before studying journalism and television production on the G.I. Bill at the University of Illinois. Hackman would be over 30 years old when he finally decided to take his chance at acting by enrolling at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. Legend says that Hackman and friend Dustin Hoffman were voted "least likely to succeed."

Hackman next moved back to New York, where he worked in summer stock and off-Broadway. In 1964 he was cast as the young suitor in the Broadway play "Any Wednesday." This role would lead to him being cast in the small role of Norman in Lilith (1964), starring Warren Beatty. When Beatty was casting for Bonnie and Clyde (1967), he cast Hackman as Buck Barrow, Clyde Barrow's brother. That role earned Hackman a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, an award for which he would again be nominated in I Never Sang for My Father (1970). In 1972 he won the Oscar for his role as Detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in The French Connection (1971). At 40 years old Hackman was a Hollywood star whose work would rise to new heights with Night Moves (1975) and Bite the Bullet (1975), or fall to new depths with The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and Eureka (1983). Hackman is a versatile actor who can play comedy (the blind man in Young Frankenstein (1974)) or villainy (the evil Lex Luthor in Superman (1978)). He is the doctor who puts his work above people in Extreme Measures (1996) and the captain on the edge of nuclear destruction in Crimson Tide (1995). After initially turning down the role of Little Bill Daggett in Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven (1992), Hackman finally accepted it, as its different slant on the western interested him. For his performance he won the Oscar and Golden Globe and decided that he wasn't tired of westerns after all. He has since appeared in Geronimo: An American Legend (1993), Wyatt Earp (1994), and The Quick and the Dead (1995).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com> (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Family (4)

Spouse Betsy Arakawa (December 1991 - present)
Filipa (Faye) Maltese (1 January 1956 - 1986)  (divorced)  (3 children)
Children Christopher Hackman
Hackman, Elizabeth Jean
Hackman, Leslie Anne
Parents Hackman (Gray), Anna Lyda Elizabeth
Hackman, Eugene Ezra
Relatives Richard Hackman (sibling)

Trade Mark (2)

Raspy voice
Prefers to come to a role with minimal rehearsal

Trivia (102)

Was the first choice to play Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch (1969).
He was the sixth choice to play Popeye Doyle in The French Connection (1971).
He lied about his age to join the Marines at 16, but left as soon as his initial tour was complete.
While at the Pasadena Playhouse, Hackman and a classmate were voted "Least likely to succeed". The classmate was Dustin Hoffman.
Was the first choice to play Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
Was also offered the chance to direct The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
Turned down the part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Pearl Harbor (2001), which went to Jon Voight.
Jailed as a teen (c. 1946) for stealing candy & soda pop from a candy store.
One of the most sustaining actors of all time, he still averaged two films a year in his 70s, having starred in six in 2001 alone. This all changed however in 2004, when he last acted in Welcome to Mooseport (2004). He has not appeared in anything since.
Has stated that his performance in Scarecrow (1973) is his personal favorite.
Revealed on Inside the Actors Studio (1994) that two of the most important factors in deciding on which films he will work on are the script and the money.
2001: Was involved in a road-rage incident when two young men attacked him for hitting their car in Hollywood.
Father of Christopher Hackman. He also has 2 daughters named Leslie Hackman and Elizabeth Hackman.
Brother of Richard Hackman.
Has appeared in three films adapted from novels by John Grisham: The Firm (1993), The Chamber (1996) and Runaway Jury (2003).
Based his role, in The Conversation (1974), on one of his uncles and a fellow Marine he had known well. He characterized the Marine as someone "who probably became a serial killer".
Dustin Hoffman came to New York after finishing his training at the Pasadena Playhouse. The two of them roomed together in New York at Hackman's one-bedroom apartment on 2nd Ave. & 26th St. Hoffman slept on the kitchen floor. Originally, Hackman had offered to let him stay a few nights, but Hoffman would not leave. Hackman had to take him out to look for his own apartment.
As roommates, Dustin Hoffman and Hackman would often go to the apartment rooftop and play the drums. Hoffman played the bongo drums while Hackman played the conga drums. They did it out of their love for Marlon Brando, who they had heard played music in clubs. They wanted to be like Brando and were big fans of his.
Dustin Hoffman asked for the part of Rankin Fitch in Runaway Jury (2003), which had gone to Hackman. Hoffman admits to asking, "Can't you get rid of Gene and give me the part?".
Runaway Jury (2003) was the first time he and former roommate Dustin Hoffman performed on the screen together.
Met actor Dustin Hoffman in the first month at Pasadena Playhouse. Had several classes with him.
Was admitted into the famed Pasadena Playhouse on the G.I. Bill. He failed out of it after 3 months and moved to New York to continue being a stage actor. Received 1 of the lowest grades the school had ever given (1.3 out of 10). He headed to New York with the intention of proving them wrong.
Was the subject of the song "Gene Hackman" by Hoodoo Gurus.
Turned down the lead roles in Jaws (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
7/7/04: Appeared on Larry King Live (1985). Larry King was surprised to find out that Hackman had no movies lined up, and Hackman replied by saying that he thinks it is the end of his career.
Says watching his own films makes him terribly nervous.
Reportedly turned down the role of Randall Patrick McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975).
Reportedly turned down one of the lead roles in Network (1976).
After he played Little Bill in Unforgiven (1992), Hackman vowed not to appear in any more violent films. After he had been in violent films dating back to Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and The French Connection (1971) (in a role refused by Peter Boyle for the same reasons), he said he was fed up with them.
Along with Margot Kidder, Hackman was appalled at the way Alexander Salkind and Ilya Salkind, the producers of the first three Superman films and 1984's Supergirl (1984) film, had treated director Richard Donner, who had directed the first Superman (1978) and most of the second Superman film back-to-back before he was fired by the Salkinds over creative differences. Hackman, who said he only did the first two movies because of Donner's persuasion, was so angry with the Salkinds that he vehemently refused to reprise the role of Lex Luthor in Superman III (1983), while Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane, only appeared in a cameo role. Hackman was later persuaded to reprise the Luthor role in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987).
Enjoys painting and writing fiction.
Lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
As a young man, Hackman attended a showing of the movie A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and was impressed by the performance of Marlon Brando due to his naturalism and the fact that he didn't look like what a movie star typically looked like in the 1950s. After exiting the theater, he told his father that he wanted to be an actor.
Even though he is no longer a cigarette smoker, Hackman played the role of a chain-smoker in Heartbreakers (2001). He was using a special kind of cigarette that only produces heavy smoke without requiring any inhaling. Ironically and tragically, in 1962, Hackman's mother Lydia died of injuries incurred from a fire caused by her own smoking.
Turned down the lead role of Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) because he was in a troubled marriage and could not spend 16 weeks outside of Los Angeles on location shooting.
In a 2004 Vanity Fair story on him, Dustin Hoffman, and Robert Duvall, Hackman said one of the worst memories of being a struggling actor, was working as a doorman in New York City. He recalled having seen former Marine officers pass him by when opening the door for them, of which one had said "Hackman, you're a sorry son of a bitch."
While a struggling actor in New York City, he worked as a soda jerk in a pharmacy and as a furniture mover. But told Time Magazine in 2011 that "worst job I ever had" was working nights at the legendary Chrysler Building--as part of a crew that polished the leather furniture.
After flunking out of the Pasadena Playhouse and moving to New York City with fellow drop-out Dustin Hoffman, Hackman worked at the Howard Johnson's restaurant in Times Square as a doorman. One day, a Pasadena Playhouse acting teacher whom Hackman hated walked by him, stopped, and told him that he had been right, that Hackman would never amount to anything.
In Robert Osborne's "Academy Awards 1972 Oscar Annual", Hackman is quoted as saying Errol Flynn was his boyhood idol. Says a poster of Flynn is one of the only movie mementos he has in his otherwise very "civilian" Santa Fe home.
1990: Underwent successful angioplasty surgery after nearly suffering a severe heart attack.
Is one of only a few actors to win an Oscar for a supporting role after winning an Oscar for a leading role. (Others to do so are Jack Nicholson, Maggie Smith and Helen Hayes).
In the Superman movies, he didn't like the idea of going bald for his role as Lex Luthor. He was allowed to wear wigs instead, and was convinced to wear a bald cap in only a few scenes.
Has played three fictional Presidents: he plays President Alan Richmand in Absolute Power (1997). His Superman (1978) character, Lex Luthor, became President of the United States in the year 2000, in the DC Comics. He also played President Monroe "Eagle" Cole in Welcome to Mooseport (2004).
Hackman replaced George Segal in the role of Kibby in the notorious flop Lucky Lady (1975). Possibly anticipating that the film would be a turkey, Segal bailed out of the production and Hackman was brought in at the last-minute. The desperate producers paid Hackman - riding high from the huge box office success of The Poseidon Adventure (1972)--a reported $1.2 million for his role, $500,000 more than Segal's going rate. Hackman knew co-star Burt Reynolds from starring in the first episode of Burt's short-lived 1966 TV series Hawk (1966).
His performance as Harry Caul in The Conversation (1974) is ranked #37 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Hackman has said that the failure of Scarecrow (1973) turned him off of art films due to the disappointment of working hard on a film that was critically acclaimed, but that tanked at the box office and failed to garner any awards. After this flop, Hackman mainly concentrated on acting for money, turning down such films as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and Network (1976) for roles in films like March or Die (1977) and Lucky Lady (1975) that offered him fatter paychecks.
Appeared on Richard Nixon's infamous "List of Enemies" during the 1972 presidential election, the only time Hackman was publicly involved in politics. During an interview on Larry King Live (1985) in July 2004, Hackman stated that although he is a Democrat, he liked President Ronald Reagan, who had died the previous month.
Before he decided to become an actor, he worked numerous jobs including announcing at small radio and TV stations.
Studied journalism and TV production at the University of Illinois, where he was voted "Least Likely to Succeed.".
Was a Dallas Cowboys fan but now regularly attends Jacksonville Jaguars games as a guest of his friend, head coach Jack Del Rio.
In contrast with his on-screen image of tough guy and reactionary, in real life Hackman is said to be an extremely gentle, shy person who holds very progressive political views.
Turned down the role of Sheriff Teasle in First Blood (1982).
Friends with Kris Kristofferson since Cisco Pike (1971).
Turned down the leading role in Sorcerer (1977) that went to Roy Scheider, Hackman's co-star in The French Connection (1971).
Both Hackman and his former roommate, Dustin Hoffman, had their big breaks in 1967, Hackman in Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Hoffman in The Graduate (1967).
Distantly related to Jenni Blong.
Released his novel, a violent Western, "Payback at Morning Peak" in June, 2011.
In the late 1970s, he competed in Sports Car Club of America races driving open-wheeled Formula Ford. In 1983, he drove in a 24-hour Daytona endurance race. He has also won the Long Beach Grand Prix Celebrity Race.
One of four multiple acting Oscar winners whose wins are all in Best Picture Oscar winners (the others being Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman and Mahershala Ali). Two of Jack Nicholson's three acting Oscars are in Best Picture winners.
Did not start acting until he was 25.
Release of his book, "Wake of the Perdido Star", by Gene with Daniel Lenihan. [1999]
He is the voice on the commercials for the Lowe's home center store chain, and has been for the past couple of years. [June 2007]
Release of his book, "Justice For None", by Gene with Daniel Lenihan. [2004]
Announces his retirement from acting at the age of 78. [April 2008]
Release of his book, "Escape From Andersonville: A Novel of the Civil War", by Gene with Daniel Lenihan. [2008]
Has appeared in six films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The French Connection (1971), The Conversation (1974), Reds (1981), Mississippi Burning (1988) and Unforgiven (1992). The French Connection (1971) and Unforgiven (1992) won in the category and rewarded Hackman for his acting efforts twice.
He was considered for the role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) before his A Bridge Too Far (1977) co-star Anthony Hopkins.
He appeared in four films with John Ratzenberger: A Bridge Too Far (1977), Superman (1978), Superman II (1980) and Reds (1981).
He was initially reluctant to take the role of Lex Luthor in ''Superman: The Movie (1978)'' as he didn't want to shave off a mustache he had recently grown. Richard Donner made a deal with him that if he shaved it off, Donner would shave off his as well. After Hackman did so, Donner revealed that the mustache he was wearing was a fake. This made Hackman instantly respect and like Donner immensely.
Got the role in Crimson Tide after Al Pacino turned it down.
When asked about friendship in an interview, Robert Duvall replied: "A friend is someone who, many years ago, offered you his last $300 when you broke your pelvis. A friend is Gene Hackman.".
Maternal grandson of Joseph (1863-1918) and Beatrice (née Powell) Gray (1863-1947). Both were born in Canada.
Son of Eugene (May 24, 1903-July 9, 1973), born in the state of Illinois, and Lydia (née Gray) Hackman (May 13, 1904-December 30, 1962), born in Canada. They divorced in 1956.
Paternal great grandson of Ezra (1843-1924), born in the state of Pennsylvania, and Amelia (née Childs) Hackman (1843-1917), born in the state of Kentucky.
Paternal grandson of William (1875-1950), born in the state of Illinois, and Julia (née Morrison) Hackman (1880-1952), born in the state of Arkansas.
Paternal great grandson of Alexander (1843-1895), born in the state of Pennsylvania, and Cynthia (née Mackey) Morrison (1846-1923), born in the state of Indiana.
Gene Hackman's Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for I Never Sang for My Father (1970) is the only time he was nominated for his performance in a film which was not nominated for Best Picture.
He has appeared in seven films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The French Connection (1971), The Conversation (1974), Young Frankenstein (1974), Superman (1978), Hoosiers (1986) and Unforgiven (1992).
He is considered something of an influence to other actors, such as Kevin Costner for example.
During the filming of "The Hunting Party," Candice Bergen credited Gene Hackman for teaching her about film acting.
The actor rarely mentioned anything about his personal life whilst being interviewed.
Was regarded as miscast when accepted for the role of "Popeye" Doyle.
Was greatly respected by Richard Harris, who described Gene Hackman as "a truly dangerous and intimidating actor.".
As a child, he had to spend much time looking after his grandmother, while his parents were at work.
Has never forgotten the day when his father walked out on the family. Hackman was about 14 years old at the time.
Developed a bit of a reputation for being a "no-nonsense" person on a film set, particularly with directors.
Originally cast as the male lead in "The Graduate," before being replaced by Dustin Hoffman.
From the late 1980s, Gene Hackman was usually cast as a character actor, more than as the leading man.
Was interviewed as part of the "Actors Studio" TV series. Gene Hackman was the 100th interviewee.
Admitted that as a boy, he was influenced by the acting of James Cagney.
Regards his New York acting teacher George Morrison, as his greatest influence.
Claims that he never watched any dallies from any of his movies.
Reportedly, Gene Hackman didn't get along with Al Pacino when they made "Scarecrow.".
Around the time of turning down the role of Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs," Gene Hackman decided to focus on movies that weren't so graphic in terms of violence.
Has a passion for cars and painting.
When applying for membership at the Actor's Studio in New York, Gene Hackman failed on a few occasions before finally succeeding.
Was so disappointed by the poor reception of "Scarecrow" and "The Conversation," Hackman experienced a period of depression.
Is regarded by Kevin Costner as the best actor Costner has worked with.
When cast for "Bonnie and Clyde," Warren Beatty and director Arthur Penn had both watched Gene Hackman performing in the theatre.
Dislikes anything regarding stardom.
He did his role in the film Reds for nothing.

Personal Quotes (48)

I was trained to be an actor, not a star. I was trained to play roles, not to deal with fame and agents and lawyers and the press.
[on aging] It really costs me a lot emotionally to watch myself on-screen. I think of myself, and feel like I'm quite young, and then I look at this old man with the baggy chins and the tired eyes and the receding hairline and all that.
The difference between a hero and a coward is one step sideways.
[on accepting his Best Actor Oscar] I wish all five of us could be up here, I really do.
If I start to become a "star", I'll lose contact with the normal guys I play best.
I came to New York when I was 25, and I worked at Howard Johnson's in Times Square, where I did the door in this completely silly uniform. Before that, I had been a student at the Pasadena Playhouse, where I had been awarded the least-likely-to-succeed prize, along with my pal Dustin Hoffman, which was a big reason we set off for New York together. Out of nowhere, this teacher I totally despised at the Pasadena Playhouse suddenly walked by HoJo's and came right up into my face and shouted, "See, Hackman, I told you that you would never amount to anything!" I felt one inch tall.
[on seeing Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and becoming determined to be an actor] He made it seem something natural.
I wanted to act, but I'd always been convinced that actors had to be handsome. That came from the days when Errol Flynn was my idol. I'd come out of a theater and be startled when I looked in a mirror because I didn't look like Flynn. I felt like him.
I suppose I wanted to be an actor from the time I was about 10, maybe even younger than that. Recollections of early movies that I had seen and actors that I admired like James Cagney, Errol Flynn, those kind of romantic action guys. When I saw those actors, I felt I could do that. But I was in New York for about eight years before I had a job. I sold ladies shoes, polished leather furniture, drove a truck. I think that if you have it in you and you want it bad enough, you can do it.
The difference between a hero and a coward is one step sideways.
Dysfunctional families have sired a number of pretty good actors.
People in the street still call me Popeye, and The French Connection (1971) was 15 years ago. I wish I could have a new hit and another nickname.
When you're on top, you get a sense of immortality. You feel you can do no wrong, that it will always be good no matter what the role. Well, in truth, that feeling is death. You must be honest with yourself.
I haven't held a press conference to announce retirement, but yes, I'm not going to act any longer. I've been told not to say that over the last few years, in case some real wonderful part comes up, but I really don't want to do it any longer ... I miss the actual acting part of it, as it's what I did for almost fifty years, and I really loved that. But the business for me is very stressful. The compromises that you have to make in films are just part of the beast, and it had gotten to a point where I just didn't feel like I wanted to do it anymore.
[In a 2011 GQ interview, when asked if he would ever come out of retirement and make another film] I don't know. If I could do it in my own house, maybe, without them disturbing anything and just one or two people.
[on making The French Connection (1971)] I found out very quickly that I am not a violent person. And these cops are surrounded by violence all the time. There were a couple of days when I wanted to get out of the picture.
(2011, on how he'd like to be remembered) As a decent actor. As someone who tried to portray what was given to them in an honest fashion. I don't know, beyond that. I don't think about that often, to be honest. I'm at an age where I should think about it.
(2011, on where he keeps his Oscars) You know, I'm not sure; I don't have any memorabilia around the house. There isn't any movie stuff except a poster downstairs next to the pool table of Errol Flynn from The Dawn Patrol (1938). I'm not a sentimental guy.
(2011, on Hoosiers (1986)) I took the film at a time that I was desperate for money. I took it for all the wrong reasons, and it turned out to be one of those films that stick around. I was from that area of the country and knew of that event, strangely enough. We filmed fifty miles from where I was brought up. So it was a bizarre feeling. I never expected the film to have the kind of legs it's had.
I'm disappointed that success hasn't been a Himalayan feeling.
[on whether he will ever come out of retirement and act again] Only in reruns. Yeah, that's it. I'm at a place where I feel very good about not having to work all night.
[on writing novels] With me it takes quite a long time, at least a year maybe a little more by the time I go through two or three edits, professional edits, but it's still fun because it's always a challenge.
Our dreams are usually limited by some kind of reality check and because a guy thinks because he can pluck a guitar a couple of strokes he thinks he's going to be Elvis Presley or whoever.
[beginning his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, when he won Best Supporting Actor for Unforgiven (1992) thinking he wouldn't win] Heck, I've just lost a hundred bucks.
I'd gotten very depressed after Scarecrow (1973) and The Conversation (1974) failed to make money. I was drinking and started to say: 'Hell, I'll do movies that will definitely make money and then I'll have plenty of dough.' I took pictures to play it safe and they turned out to be very dangerous for me.
(On missing the role of Dr. Berger in Ordinary People (1980)) I would've loved it. I didn't turn it down, we couldn't make a deal. I wanted some points and they were willing to give me some, but not enough to make the picture feasible. Just one of those deals that fell apart.
(On missing the lead role in Klute (1971)) I wanted it desperately but Jane Fonda vetoed me.
(On losing the role of Mr. Robinson in The Graduate (1967)) A painful experience. My fault, I guess I didn't understand Mr Robinson because I couldn't make him funny. That's why I believe it takes ten years to become an actor. Luckily, Bonnie and Clyde (1967) was just gonna be released. If I hadn't had a really good performance under me, that would have really done me great damage.
(On turning down the role of Lips Manlis in Dick Tracy (1990)) I'd just come off a picture a couple days before and was starting another in three days. I was just too tired.
You go through stages in your career that you feel very good about yourself. Then you feel awful, like, 'Why didn't I choose something else?' But overall I'm pretty satisfied that I made the right choice when I decided to be an actor.
Dysfunctional families have sired a number of pretty good actors.
I do not like assassins, or men of low character.
Once, I optioned a novel and tried to do a screenplay on it, which was great fun, but I was too respectful. I was only 100 pages into the novel and I had about 90 pages of movie script going. I realized I had a lot to learn.
I have trouble with direction, because I have trouble with authority. I was not a good Marine.
Things parents say to children are oftentimes not heard, but in some cases you pick up on things that your parent would like to see you have done.
I went in the Marines when I was 16. I spent four and a half years in the Marines and then came right to New York to be an actor. And then seven years later, I got my first job.
Hollywood loves to typecast, and I guess they saw me as a violent guy.
I don't like to talk about myself that much.
My early days in Broadway were all comedies. I never did a straight play on Broadway.
I'm not a sentimental guy.
If you look at yourself as a star, you've already lost something in the portrayal of any human being.
If I start to become a star, I'll lose contact with the normal guys I play best.
I lost touch with my son in terms of advice early on. Maybe it had to do with being gone so much, doing location films when he was at an age where he needed support and guidance.
My grandfather had been a newspaper reporter, as was my uncle. They were pretty good writers and so I thought maybe somewhere down the line I would do some writing.
My wife and I take what we call our Friday comedy day off. We watch standup comics on TV. The raunchier the better. We love Eddie Izzard.
I write in the morning from about eight till noon, and sometimes again a bit in the afternoon. In the morning I start off by going over what I had done the previous day, which my wife has happily typed up for me.
The worst job I ever had was working nights in the Chrysler Building. I was part of a team of about five guys, and we polished the leather furniture.
I left home when I was 16 because I was looking for adventure.

Salary (4)

The French Connection (1971) $100,000
Lucky Lady (1975) $1,350,000
Superman (1978) $2,000,000
The Quick and the Dead (1995) $1,300,000

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