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Gene Hackman ACTOR

Eugene Hackman is one of American cinema’s most versatile and well respected actors. His more than four decade long career included nearly every type of role, and his memorable characters earned him five Oscar nominations and two wins. The actor was born January 30, 1930 in San Bernardino, California. He moved around a lot with his mother, Lyda, and father, Eugene, before settling down with his maternal grandmother, Beatrice, in Danville, Illinois.  Hackman left home at sixteen to join the U.S. Marine Corps, lying to them about his true age. He served for over four years as a radio field operator, and upon his return, moved to New York and spent the next several years performing a variety of odd jobs. He then decided to use his G.I. Bill to study journalism and television production at the University of Illinois. It wasn’t until his thirties however, that he decided to pursue a career in acting.

Hackman moved to California to join the Pasadena Playhouse and train to become an actor. Here he became close friends with another struggling actor, Dustin Hoffman. Ironically, they both were voted “The Least Likely to Succeed” by their classmates and left the Playhouse to find stage work in New York, where they both became friends with actor Robert Duvall. In addition to his roles in plays, Hackman began to familiarize himself with the screen with bit parts in the film “Mad Dog Coll” (1961) and a number of small screen productions like “The United States Steel Hour” (1959-62) and “The Defenders” (1961-63).

In 1964, Hackman was offered a starring role in the play “Any Given Wednesday” alongside Sandy Dennis. This turned out to be his ticket to Hollywood, and in the same year he nabbed his first substantial film role in “Lilith” (1964), starring Warren Beatty.  At Beatty’s request, he co-starred with her in 1967’s “Bonnie and Clyde” as Buck Barrow. For his role, he earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. After shining in the documentary-like Olympic picture “Downhill Racer” (1969), Hackman was again nominated for the same award three years later in “I Never Sang for My Father” (1970). In the movie he portrayed a professor trying to reconcile with his father after his mother’s death. The following year, he played tough cop Detective Popeye Doyle in the thrilling box office hit “The French Connection” (1971). For this role, the actor finally received his first Oscar win for Best Actor.  

Now established as a prominent leading man, Hackman began to tackle a number of roles that showcased his star worthy versatility. He joined classic stars Red Buttons, Roddy McDowall, Shelley Winters, and Ernest Borgnine in the disaster film “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972). He partnered with Al Pacino in the road trip drama “Scarecrow” (1973), and then played a surveillance expert in director Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Conversation” (1974). Shortly following he showed his comedic skills as a blind hermit for the funny sci-fi flick “Young Frankenstein” (1974). He performed as Popeye Doyle once again for his next picture, “French Connection II” (1975).

By the mid to late 1970's, the actor’s career success began to slip, as he starred in box office flops like “Lucky Lady” (1975), “The Domino” (1977), and “March or Die” (1977). Although he appeared in the smash adventures “Superman” in 1978 and “Superman II” in 1980, his career continued to suffer and Hackman was ready to call his retirement. Warren Beatty convinced him to get back into the game and had him appear in the historical drama “Reds” (1981). However, his other pictures of the early eighties, like “All Night Long” (1980) and “Eureka” (1981), seemed to pass through the theaters virtually unnoticed.  1983’s drama “Under Fire” brought life back to the actor’s career, and its follow ups, “Uncommon Valor” (1983) and “Twice in a Lifetime” (1985), were also successes.

By the middle of the decade, Hackman’s career was rejuvenated and he was back into the craft with titles such as “Hoosiers” (1986), “Superman 4: The Quest for Peace” (1987), and “No Way Out” (1987). He earned another Academy Award nomination for his role in the civil rights era drama “Mississippi Burning” (1988). In the same year, he starred in four other major releases: Woody Allen’s “Another Woman”, war drama “Bat*21”, sport flick “Split Decisions”, and comedy “Full Moon in Blue Water”.

In 1990 Hackman encountered major health problems and had to undergo heart surgery. However, when he returned to acting, he had a steady stream of roles in movies like “Narrow Margin” (1990), “Postcards from the Edge” (1990), and “Class Action” (1991). In 1992 he joined director and star Clint Eastwood in the western “Unforgiven” as a corrupt small town sheriff. This part won the actor his second Academy Award. He played a corrupt lawyer soon after in “The Firm” (1993), a John Grisham novel adaptation with Tom Cruise. Hackman followed with other successful movies such as another John Grisham adaptation called “The Chamber” (1996), the Robin Williams comedy “The Birdcage” (1996), the Clint Eastwood crime drama “Absolute Power” (1997), and the Will Smith thriller “Enemy of the State” (1998). In 1998 he appeared in two other very different films, the mystery drama “Twilight” and animated feature “Antz”.

1999 marked the first year in awhile that he failed to appear in a film, but 2000 saw the crime drama “Under Suspicion” with Morgan Freeman and sports comedy “The Replacements”. His subsequent features include the Brad Pitt Julia Roberts comedy “The Mexican” and Sigourney Weaver Jennifer Love Hewitt comedy “Heartbreakers”, as well as the dramas “Heist” (2001), “Behind Enemy Lines” (2001), and “Runaway Jury” (2003). His final projects were the romantic comedy “Welcome to Mooseport” (2004) and the special video cut “Superman II” (2006).

In July 2004, Gene Hackman appeared on the Larry King show announcing his retirement, which he has remained in since. However, he stays present on television in voice overs for various commercials. For his involvement in the motion pictures, he has won over thirty awards and been nominated for over twenty more.

2006  Superman II 
2004  Welcome to Mooseport 
2003  Runaway Jury 
2001  Behind Enemy Lines 
2001  The Royal Tenenbaums 
2001  Heist 
2001  Heartbreakers 
2001  The Mexican 
2000  The Replacements 
2000  Under Suspicion 
1998  Enemy of the State 
1998  Antz 
1998  Twilight 
1997  Absolute Power 
1996  The Chamber 
1996  Extreme Measures 
1996  The Birdcage 
1995  Get Shorty 
1995  Crimson Tide 
1995  The Quick and the Dead 
1994  Wyatt Earp 
1993  Geronimo: An American Legend
1993  The Firm 
1992  Unforgiven 
1991  Company Business 
1991  Class Action 
1990  Narrow Margin 
1990  Postcards from the Edge 
1990  Loose Cannons 
1989  The Package 
1988  Mississippi Burning 
1988  Full Moon in Blue Water 
1988  Split Decisions 
1988  Another Woman 
1988  Bat*21 
1987  No Way Out 
1987  Superman IV: The Quest for Peace 
1986  Hoosiers 
1986  Power 
1985  Target 
1985  Twice in a Lifetime 
1984  Misunderstood 
1983  Uncommon Valor 
1983  Two of a Kind 
1983  Under Fire 
1983  Eureka 
1981  Reds 
1981  All Night Long 
1980  Superman II 
1978  Superman 
1977  March or Die 
1977  A Bridge Too Far 
1977  The Domino Principle 
1975  Lucky Lady 
1975  Bite the Bullet 
1975  Night Moves 
1975  French Connection II 
1974  Young Frankenstein 
1974  Zandy's Bride 
1974  The Conversation 
1973  Scarecrow 
1972  The Poseidon Adventure 
1972  Prime Cut 
1972  Cisco Pike 
1971  The French Connection 
1971  The Hunting Party 
1971  Doctors' Wives 
1970  I Never Sang for My Father 
1970  Insight 
1969  Marooned 
1969  Downhill Racer 
1969  The Gypsy Moths 
1969  Riot 
1968  Shadow on the Land 
1968  The Split  
1968  I Spy  
1968  CBS Playhouse 
1967  Iron Horse 
1967  The Invaders 
1967  Bonnie and Clyde 
1967  Banning 
1967  Community Shelter Planning 
1967  A Covenant with Death 
1967  First to Fight 
1967  The F.B.I. 
1966  Hawaii 
1966  Hawk 
1966  The Trials of O'Brien 
1964  Lilith 
1963  East Side/West Side 
1963  Ride with Terror 
1963  The DuPont Show of the Week  
1963  Route 66  
1963  Naked City 
1963  Look Up and Live
1961  The Defenders   
1961  Tallahassee 7000 
1961  Mad Dog Coll
1959  Brenner
1959  The United States Steel Hour

Matinee Classics - Bonnie and Clyde starring Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, Dub Taylor, Denver Pyle, Gene Wilder and Estelle Parsons
Matinee Classics - Mississippi Burning starring Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif, R. Lee Ermey, Gailard Sartain, Stephen Tobolowsky, Michael Rooker, Pruitt Taylor, Badja Djola, Kevin Dunn, Frankie Faison, Thomas B. Mason
Matinee Classics - The French Connection starring Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Marcel Bozzuffi, Frederic de Pasquale, Bill Hickman, Ann Rebbot, Harold Gary, Arlene Farber, Eddie Egan, Andre Ernotte, Sonny Grosso, Benny Marino, Patrick McDermott, Alan Weeks, Andre Trottier, Sheila Ferguson, Eric Jones, Darby Lloyd and Jean Luisi
Matinee Classics - The French Connection starring Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Marcel Bozzuffi, Frederic de Pasquale, Bill Hickman, Ann Rebbot, Harold Gary, Arlene Farber, Eddie Egan, Andre Ernotte, Sonny Grosso, Benny Marino, Patrick McDermott, Alan Weeks, Andre Trottier, Sheila Ferguson, Eric Jones, Darby Lloyd and Jean Luisi

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