Eugene Allen “Gene” Hackman (born January 30, 1930) is an American actor and novelist.
In a career spanning five decades, Hackman has been nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two for best actor in The French Connection and best supporting actor in Unforgiven. In addition, Hackman has won three Golden Globes and two BAFTAs. He first came to fame in 1967 with his performance as Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde. His major subsequent films include The French Connection (1971) and French Connection II (1975), in which he played Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle; The Poseidon Adventure (1972); The Conversation (1974); Superman (1978), in which he played arch-villain Lex Luthor; Hoosiers (1986); Mississippi Burning (1988); Unforgiven (1992); The Firm (1993); Crimson Tide (1995); Get Shorty (1995); The Birdcage (1996); Enemy of the State (1998); and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001).behind enemy lines 2001
Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, the son of Anna Lyda Elizabeth (née Gray) and Eugene Ezra Hackman. He has a brother, Richard. He has Pennsylvania Dutch (German), English, and Scottish ancestry, and his mother was born in Lambton, Ontario. According to a plaque in a city park, he worked for a time as a dog catcher for the local animal shelter. His family moved frequently, finally settling in Danville, Illinois, where they lived in the house of his English-born maternal grandmother, Beatrice. Hackman’s father operated the printing press for the Commercial-News, a local paper. As a young teenager Hackman was in some of the same social circles as the older Dick Van Dyke at that time. Van Dyke was friends with his older brother Richard. Hackman’s parents divorced in 1943 and his father subsequently left the family.
Gene lived briefly in Storm Lake, Iowa and spent his sophomore year at Storm Lake High School. At the age of sixteen, Hackman left home to join the United States Marine Corps, where he served four-and-a-half years as a field radio operator. He was stationed in China (Qingdao, and later in Shanghai). When the Communist Revolution was victorious in 1949, Hackman was stationed in Hawaii and Japan. After his discharge, he moved to New York, working in several minor jobs. His mother died in 1962 as a result of a fire she accidentally set while smoking.
Hackman’s first wife was Faye Maltese. They had three children, Christopher Allen, Elizabeth Jean and Leslie Anne Hackman. The couple divorced in 1986 after three decades of marriage. In 1991, Hackman married Betsy Arakawa. They live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Hackman competed in Sports Car Club of America races driving an open wheeled Formula Ford in the late seventies. In 1983, Hackman drove a Dan Gurney Team Toyota in the 24 Hours of Daytona Endurance Race. He also won the Long Beach Grand Prix Celebrity Race.
Hackman is an avid fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars and regularly attended Jaguars games as a guest of then-head coach Jack Del Rio. He is friends with Del Rio from Del Rio’s playing days at the University of Southern California.
On January 13, 2012, Hackman was struck by a car while riding a bicycle in Islamorada, Florida. He sustained minor injuries and was transported to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami, Florida.
On October 30, 2012, Hackman slapped a homeless man who recognized him in downtown Santa Fe. Hackman told the police that the homeless man became angry when he was refused money, called his wife an obscene name and moved in close in a “threatening manner”. Hackman also told the police that he was then forced to slap the man to fend him off. No charges were filed, as it was determined by police that Hackman acted in self-defense.