Gene Hackman

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Gene Hackman
Gene Hackman

Eugene Alden Hackman (born January 30, 1930) is an American actor. He was born in San Bernardino, California. His parents divorced while he was a child, and he therefore moved from one place to another until he settled finally in Illinois, where he lived with his grandmother. At 16 he left home to join the Marines, where he served 3 years as a radio operator. Having finished his service, he moved to New York, where he worked in several minor jobs. He then studied television production and journalism at the University of Illinois, taking advantage of the "G.I. Bill".

Already over 30 years old, Hackman decided to become an actor and joined the Pasadena Playhouse in California. Some times later, he moved back to New York City, where he started to perform in several off-Broadway plays. Finally, in 1964, he had the offer to play on Broadway, which opened the doors to the movies. His first role was in Lilith, with Warren Beatty in the leading role. Another secondary role in 1967's Bonnie and Clyde, earned him an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor. In 1971 he was again nominated for the same award, this time for I Never Sang for My Father. The next year he won the Best Actor award for his memorable performance as Popeye Doyle in The French Connection.

At the end of the 80s, when Hackman had become a deeply respected actor, he alternated between leading and supporting roles, earning another Best Actor nomination for Mississippi Burning. In 1990 he underwent heart surgery which kept him away from work for a while. In 1992, he played the sadistic sheriff in Unforgiven, for which role he earned a second Oscar, this time for Best Supporting Actor. After so many years of acting, Hackman wanted to try another field of creativity and wrote his first novel, which was published in 1999, a year that was exceptional in that he did not appear in any film.

Hackman is one of the most acclaimed actors of his era. In over 40 years, he has convincingly played a wide variety of characters, not only in cinema, but also in TV productions and on stage. Hackman's first wife was Fay Maltese. They had three children, but they divorced in 1986 after 30 years of marriage. In 1991, Hackman married Betsy Arakawa. They live in Beverly Hills.


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