Hackman, Gene 1930–

views updated May 18 2018

Hackman, Gene 1930–

(Eugene Alder)


Full name, Eugene Alden Hackman; born January 30, 1930, in San Bernardino (some sources cite Riverside), CA; raised in Danville, IL; son of Eugene Ezra (a newspaper press operator) and Lydia Hackman; married Fay Maltese (a bank secretary), January 1, 1956 (divorced, 1986); married Betsy Arakawa, December, 1991; children: (first marriage) Christopher, Elizabeth, Leslie. Education: Attended University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; attended School of Radio Technique and Art Students League of New York, both New York City; trained at Pasadena Playhouse. Avocational Interests: Flying, race car driving, landscape painting, drawing, film collecting.

Addresses: Agent—Fred Specktor, Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212-1804; (voice) Special Artists Agency, 9465 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 890, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Publicist—Dick Guttman, Guttman Associates, 118 South Beverly Dr., Suite 201, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Career: Actor and writer. Sometimes credited as Eugene Alder. The Premise (improvisational comedy group), member of company, c. 1961; Chelly Ltd. (production company), founder; New Actors Workshop teacher; voice performer for television and radio commercials; worked as a radio announcer in the Midwest; some sources cite work as an assistant director for television productions and as a floor manager at television studios. Permanent Charities Committee of the Entertainment Industries, honorary chair; worked at various jobs in New York City, 1956–58, including positions as a doorman, truck driver, and shoe salesperson; worked at a soda fountain and as a furniture mover. Military service: U.S. Marine Corps, radio operator and broad-caster for Armed Forces Radio, c. 1946–49; served in China, Japan, and Hawaii.

Member: Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Awards, Honors: Clarence Derwent Award, most promising new actor, Actors' Equity Association, 1963, for Children from Their Games; National Society of Film Critics Award, best supporting actor, and Academy Award nomination, best actor in a supporting role, both 1968, for Bonnie and Clyde; Golden Laurel Award nomination, best male new face, Producers Guild of America, 1968; Academy Award nomination, best actor in a supporting role, 1971, for I Never Sang for My Father; New York Film Critics Circle Award, best actor, and Star of the Year Award, National Association of Theatre Owners, both 1971, Academy Award, best actor in a leading role, Golden Globe Award, best motion picture actor—drama, National Board of Review Award, best actor, and Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award, best actor, all 1972, and Film Award, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1973, all for The French Connection; Film Award, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1973, for The Poseidon Adventure; Cannes International Film Festival Award, 1973, for Scarecrow; Star of the Year Award, National Association of Theatre Owners, 1974; National Board of Review Award, best actor, 1974, Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actor—drama, 1975, Film Award nomination, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1975, New York Film Critics Circle Award nomination, best actor, and performance as named one of the 100 greatest performances of all time, Premiere magazine, 2006, all for The Conversation; Bronze Wrangler Award (with others), outstanding theatrical motion picture, Western Heritage awards, 1976, for Bite the Bullet; Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actor—drama, and Film Award nomination, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, both 1976, for The French Connection II; Film Award nomination, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1976, for Night Moves; Film Award nomination, best supporting actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1979, for Superman; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture, 1984, for Under Fire; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picture—drama, 1986, for Twice in a Lifetime; National Board of Review Award and National Society of Film Critics Award, both best actor, 1988, Silver Berlin Bear, best actor, Berlin International Film Festival, Academy Award nomination, best actor in a leading role, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picture—drama, all 1989, all for Mississippi Burning; New York Film Critics Award and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, both best supporting actor, 1992, Academy Award, best actor in a supporting role, Golden Globe Award, best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture, Film Award, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, best actor in a supporting role, National Society of Film Critics Award, Boston Society of Film Critics Award, and Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award, all best supporting actor, and Bronze Wrangler Award (with others), outstanding theatrical motion picture, all 1993, all for Unforgiven; Bronze Wrangler Award (with others), outstanding theatrical motion picture, 1994, for Geronimo: An American Legend; American Comedy Award nomination, funniest actor in a motion picture (leading role), 1996, for Get Shorty; Golden Apple Award nomination, male star of the year, Hollywood Women's Press Club, 1996; Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite supporting actor—comedy, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture—comedy or musical, International Press Academy, and Screen Actors Guild Award (with others), outstanding performance by a cast, all 1997, for The Birdcage; Blockbuster Award nomination, favorite supporting actor—action/adventure, 1999, for Enemy of the State; Golden Globe Award, best performance by an actor in a motion picture—musical or comedy, National Society of Film Critics Award, best actor, AFI (American Film Institute) Film Award, featured actor of the year—male—movies, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, best actor, National Board of Review Award, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picture, comedy or musical, Phoenix Film Critics Society Award nomination, best actor in a leading role, and Phoenix Film Critics Society Award nomination (with others), best acting ensemble, all 2002, for The Royal Tenenbaums; Cecil B. DeMille Award, Golden Globe awards, 2003; subject of the song "Gene Hackman," by the Hoodoo Gurus.


Film Appearances:

(Uncredited) Police officer, Mad Dog Coll, Columbia, 1961.

Norman, Lilith, Columbia, 1964.

Harmsworth, A Covenant with Death, Warner Bros., 1966.

Reverend John Whipple, Hawaii, United Artists, 1966.

Buck Barrow, Bonnie and Clyde (also known as Bonnie and Clyde … Were Killers!), Warner Bros./Seven Arts, 1967.

Sergeant Tweed, First to Fight, Warner Bros., 1967.

Tommy Del Gaddo, Banning, Universal, 1967.

Out by the Country Club, 1967.

Detective lieutenant Walter Brill, The Split, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1968.

Buzz Lloyd, Marooned (also known as Space Travelers), Columbia, 1969.

Eugene Claire, Downhill Racer, Paramount, 1969.

Joe Browdy, The Gypsy Moths, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1969.

Red Fletcher (some sources cite surname as Fraker), Riot!, Paramount, 1969.

Gene Garrison, I Never Sang for My Father, Columbia, 1970.

Brandt Ruger, The Hunting Party, United Artists, 1971.

Detective James "Jimmy"/"Popeye" Doyle, The French Connection, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1971.

Dr. Dave Randolph, Doctors' Wives, Columbia, 1971.

Officer Leo Holland, Cisco Pike, Columbia, 1971.

Mary Ann, Prime Cut, National General, 1972.

Reverend Frank Scott, The Poseidon Adventure, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1972.

Max Millan, Scarecrow, Warner Bros., 1973.

Harold the blind hermit, Young Frankenstein (also known as Frankenstein Jr.), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1974.

Harry Caul, The Conversation, Paramount, 1974.

Zandy Allan, Zandy's Bride (also known as For Better, for Worse), Warner Bros., 1974.

Harry Moseby, Night Moves, Warner Bros., 1975.

James "Jimmy"/"Popeye" Doyle, The French Connection II, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1975.

Kibby, Lucky Lady, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1975.

Sam Clayton, Bite the Bullet, Columbia, 1975.

(In archive footage) America at the Movies, Cinema 5 Distributing, 1976.

Himself, A Look at Liv (documentary), Win Kao Productions, 1977.

Major general Stanislaw Sosabowski, A Bridge Too Far, United Artists, 1977.

Major William Sherman Foster, March or Die, Columbia, 1977.

Roy Tucker, The Domino Principle (also known as The Domino Killings and El domino principe), Avco-Embassy, 1977.

Himself, Formula uno, febbre della velocita (also known as Speed Fever), 1978.

Lex Luthor, Superman (also known as Superman: The Movie), Warner Bros., 1978.

Lex Luthor, Superman II, Warner Bros., 1980.

George Dupler, All Night Long, Universal, 1981.

Pete Van Wherry, Reds, Paramount, 1981.

Alex Grazier, Under Fire, Orion, 1983.

Colonel Jason Rhodes, Uncommon Valor, Paramount, 1983.

Jack McCann, Eureka, United Artists, 1983.

Voice of God, Two of a Kind, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1983.

Ned Rawley, Misunderstood (also known as L'ultimo sole d'estate), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1984.

Harry MacKenzie, Twice in a Lifetime, Yorkin Company/Pan Canadian, 1985.

Walter Lloyd/Duncan "Duke" Potter, Target, Warner Bros., 1985.

Coach Norman Dale, Hoosiers (also known as Best Shot), Orion, 1986.

Wilfred Buckley, Power, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1986.

Defense secretary David Brice, No Way Out, Orion, 1987.

Lex Luthor and voice of Nuclear Man, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Warner Bros., 1987.

Agent Rupert Anderson, Mississippi Burning, Orion, 1988.

Dan McGuinn, Split Decisions (also known as Kid Gloves), New Century-Vista, 1988.

Floyd, Full Moon in Blue Water, Trans World Entertainment, 1988.

Larry Lewis, Another Woman, Orion, 1988.

Lieutenant colonel Iceal Hambleton, Bat∗21 (also known as Bat 21), TriStar, 1988.

Jedediah Tucker Ward, Class Action, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1989.

Lowell Korshack, Postcards from the Edge, Columbia, 1989.

Sergeant Johnny Gallagher, The Package, Orion, 1989.

MacArthur Stern, Loose Cannons (also known as The Von Metz Incident), TriStar, 1990.

Robert Caulfield, Narrow Margin, TriStar, 1990.

Sam Boyd/John Jones, Company Business, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Pathe, 1990.

Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett, Unforgiven (also known as The William Munny Killings), Warner Bros., 1992.

Avery Tolar, The Firm, Paramount, 1993.

Brigadier general George Crook, Geronimo: An American Legend, Columbia, 1993.

Nicholas Earp, Wyatt Earp, Warner Bros., 1994.

Captain Frank Ramsey, Crimson Tide, Buena Vista, 1995.

Harry Zimm, Get Shorty, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1995.

John Herod, The Quick and the Dead, TriStar, 1995.

Dr. Lawrence Myrick, Extreme Measures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 1996.

Sam Cayhall, The Chamber, Universal, 1996.

Senator Kevin Keeley, The Birdcage (also known as Birds of a Feather), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1996.

President Allen Richmond, Absolute Power, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 1997.

Edward "Brill" Lyle, Enemy of the State, Buena Vista, 1998.

Jack Ames, Twilight (also known as The Magic Hour), Paramount, 1998.

Voice of General Mandible, Antz (animated), Dream-Works, 1998.

Henry Hearst, Under Suspicion (also known as Suspicion), Lions Gate Films, 1999.

Jimmy McGinty, The Replacements, Warner Bros., 2000.

Admiral Leslie McMahon Reigart, Behind Enemy Lines, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2001.

Arnold Margolese, The Mexican (also known as La mexicana), DreamWorks, 2001.

Himself, Cannes: Through the Eyes of the Hunter (documentary short film), 2001.

Joe Moore, Heist (also known as Le vol), Warner Bros., 2001.

Royal Tenenbaum, The Royal Tenenbaums, Buena Vista, 2001.

William B. Tensy, Heartbreakers, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2001.

(In archive footage) Himself, The Kid Stays in the Picture (documentary), Focus Features/USA Films, 2002.

Narrator, Colors of Courage: Sons of New Mexico, Prisoners of Japan (documentary), Center for Regional Studies, University of New Mexico, 2002.

Rankin Fitch, Runaway Jury, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2003.

Monroe Cole, Welcome to Mooseport, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2004.

Film Work:

Executive producer, Under Suspicion (also known as Suspicion), Lions Gate Films, 1999.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Reverend Thomas Davis, Shadow on the Land, ABC, 1968.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Himself, The Making of "Superman: The Movie," 1978.

Night of 100 Stars II (also known as Night of One Hundred Stars), ABC, 1985.

Charlie Bragg: One of a Kind, PBS, 1986.

The Third Annual Hollywood Insider Academy Awards Special, USA Network, 1989.

Himself, Clint Eastwood on Westerns, 1992.

Himself, Eastwood & Co.: Making "Unforgiven," ABC, 1992.

Himself, Clint Eastwood—The Man from Malpaso, Cinemax, 1993.

Voice, Earth and the American Dream, HBO, 1993.

Host, 100 Years of the Hollywood Western, NBC, 1994.

Star Trek: 30 Years and Beyond, UPN, 1996.

(Uncredited) Himself, Sports on the Silver Screen, HBO, 1997.

Himself, The Best of Hollywood (also known as 50 Years: The Best of Hollywood), 1998.

Himself, The Secret World of Antz, 1998.

Narrator, "Hitchcock, Selznick and the End of Hollywood," American Masters (also known as American Masters: Hitchcock, Selznick and the End of Hollywood), PBS, 1999.

AFI's 100 Years … 100 Stars, CBS, 1999.

Himself, "Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows," American Masters, PBS, 2000.

Himself, The Poughkeepsie Shuffle: Tracing "The French Connection," 2000.

Himself, History vs. Hollywood, History Channel, 2001.

Himself, Making the Connection: Untold Stories of "The French Connection" (also known as The French Connection 30th Anniversary Special), Fox Movie Channel, 2001.

Host and narrator, Heroes of Iwo Jima, Arts and Entertainment, 2001.

(In archive footage) AFI's 100 Years … 100 Heroes and Villains, CBS, 2003.

Narrator, Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust, American Movie Classics, 2004.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Presenter, The 44th Annual Academy Awards, NBC, 1972.

Presenter, The 45th Annual Academy Awards, NBC, 1973.

Presenter, The 56th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1984.

Presenter, The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1989.

Presenter, The 46th Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 1992.

Presenter, The 65th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1993.

And the Winner Is, syndicated, 1993.

The 50th Annual Golden Globe Awards, TBS, 1993.

Presenter, The 66th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1994.

Himself, The 60th Annual Golden Globe Awards, NBC, 2003.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Joey Carlton, "Little Tin God," The U.S. Steel Hour (also known as The United States Steel Hour), CBS, 1959.

Steve, "The Pink Burro," The U.S. Steel Hour (also known as The United States Steel Hour), CBS, 1959.

Reverend MacCreighton, "Big Doc's Girl," The U.S. Steel Hour (also known as The United States Steel Hour), CBS, 1959.

"Bride of the Fox," The U.S. Steel Hour (also known as The United States Steel Hour), CBS, 1960.

Jerry Warner, "Quality of Mercy," The Defenders, CBS, 1961.

"Brandenberg Gate," The U.S. Steel Hour (also known as The United States Steel Hour), CBS, 1961.

Ed, "Far from the Shade Tree," The U.S. Steel Hour (also known as The United States Steel Hour), CBS, 1962.

"Prime of Life," Naked City, ABC, 1963.

Guard, "Judgment Eve," The Defenders, CBS, 1963.

Douglas McCann, "Ride with Terror," DuPont Show of the Week, NBC, 1963.

Police officer, "Creeps Live Here," East Side, West Side, CBS, 1963.

Motorist, "Who Will Cheer My Bonnie Bride," Route 66, CBS, 1963.

Houston Worth, "Do Not Mutilate or Spindle," Hawk, ABC, 1966.

Roger Nathan, "The Only Game in Town," Trials of O'Brien, CBS, 1966.

Herb Kenyon, "The Courier," The F.B.I., ABC, 1967.

Tom Jessup, "The Spores," The Invaders, ABC, 1967.

Harry Wadsworth, "Leopards Try, but Leopards Can't!," Iron Horse, ABC, 1967.

"My Father and My Mother," CBS Playhouse, CBS, 1968.

Frank Hunter, "Happy Birthday … Everybody," I Spy, NBC, 1968.

Insight, syndicated, 1971.

Guest, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In (also known as Laugh-In), NBC, multiple episodes in 1972.

Guest, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (also known as The Best of Carson), NBC, 1972, 1973, 1975.

Guest, V.I.P.-Schaukel, 1978.

Guest, Revista de cine, 1979.

"Gene Hackman," The South Bank Show, Independent Television, 1983.

Champlin on Film, Bravo, 1989.

Guest, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1998.

Himself, "Gene Hackman," Bravo Profiles (also known as Bravo Profiles: Gene Hackman and Gene Hackman), Bravo, c. 2000.

Himself, "Bonnie and Clyde," Backstory (also known as Hollywood Backstories), American Movie Classics, 2001.

Guest, Inside the Actors Studio, Bravo, 2001.

(In archive footage) Himself, Headliners & Legends: Denzel Washington, MSNBC, 2002.

Himself, "Runaway Jury," HBO First Look, HBO, 2003.

Himself, "Dustin Hoffman," The Hollywood Greats (also known as Hollywood Greats), BBC, 2004.

Guest, Larry King Live, Cable News Network, 2004.

Appeared as Frank Collins in "The End of the Story," an episode of Look Up and Live, CBS; also appeared in "The Films of Richard Donner," The Directors, Encore.

Stage Appearances:

Chaparral, Sheridan Square Playhouse, New York City, 1958.

The Curious Miss Caraway, Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena, CA, c. 1958.

The Saintliness of Margery Kempe, York Playhouse, 1959.

Pilgrim's Progress, off-Broadway production, early 1960s.

Who'll Save the Plowboy?, off-Broadway production, early 1960s.

Charles Widgin Rochambeau, Children from Their Games, Morosco Theatre, New York City, 1963.

Sidney Rice, A Rainy Day in Newark, Belasco Theatre, New York City, 1963.

Sydney Carroll, Poor Richard, Helen Hayes Theatre, New York City, 1964.

Cass Henderson, Any Wednesday, Music Box Theatre, New York City, c. 1964–66, George Abbott Theatre, New York City, 1966.

Baxter in "Fragments" and Zach in "Basement," Fragments, Cherry Lane Theatre, New York City, 1967.

The Natural Look, Longacre Theatre, New York City, 1967.

Billyboy, Come to the Palace of Sin, Theatre de Lys (now Lucille Lortel Theatre), New York City, 1969.

Night of 100 Stars II (also known as Night of One Hundred Stars), Radio City Music Hall, New York City, 1985.

Roberto Miranda, Death and the Maiden, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York City, 1992.



Himself, Making "Superman": Filming the Legend, Warner Bros. Home Video, 2001.

Himself, Taking Flight: The Development of "Superman," Warner Bros. Home Video, 2001.

Himself, All on Accounta Pullin' a Trigger, Warner Home Video, 2002.

(In archive footage) Lex Luthor, De Superman a Spider-Man: L'aventure des super-heros (animated), Gaumont/Columbia/TriStar Home Video, 2002.

Himself, The Making of "Runaway Jury," Twentieth Century-Fox Home Entertainment, 2004.

Himself, Hoosier History: The Truth behind the Legend, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment, 2005.



(With Daniel Lenihan) Wake of the Perdido Sea: A Novel of Shipwrecks, Pirates, and the Sea, New-market Press, 1999.

(With Lenihan) Justice for None, St. Martin's Press, 2004.



Hunter, Allan, Gene Hackman, St. Martin's Press, 1987.

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, 4th edition, St. James Press, 2000.

Munn, Michael, Gene Hackman, Robert Hale Limited, 1987.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Cultures, five volumes, St. James Press, 2000.


American Film, March, 1983.

Boston Herald, December 21, 2001.

Entertainment Weekly, October 17, 2003, pp. 45-47.

Film Comment, September/October, 1974; November/December, 1988, pp. 21-24, 70-74.

Films and Filming, May, 1986.

Films in Review, January, 1975.

Literature/Film Quarterly, January, 1993.

Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2001.

New York Times Magazine, March 19, 1989.

Oui, August, 1981, p. 32.

Parade, December 30, 2001, p. 20.

People Weekly, March 26, 2001.

Premiere, February, 1991, p. 68; February, 2002, p. 88.

Prevue, October, 1991, p. 36.

Publishers Weekly, March 22, 1999, p. 28.

Radio Times, March 11, 1989, p. 21; April 29, 1995.

Stars, September, 1992.

Stills, April, 1986.

Time, June 7, 2004, p. 139.

TV Guide, January 18, 2003, pp. 41-43.

USA Today, October 11, 1996.

Hackman, Gene

views updated May 29 2018


Nationality: American. Born: Eugene Alden Hackman in San Bernardino, California, 30 January 1931. Education: Studied journalism, University of Illinois, Urbana, for six months; studied at a New York school for radio; studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. Military Service: Served in the U.S. Marine Corps, 1947–50; disc jockey and newscaster for unit's radio station. Family: Married 1) Fay Maltese, 1956 (divorced 1985), children: Christopher, Elizabeth, Leslie; 2) Betsy Arakawa. Career: Worked briefly for civilian radio and TV stations, 1953; made his off-Broadway debut in Chaparral, 1958; made his television debut, 1959; made his film debut in Mad Dog Coll, 1961; made his Broadway debut in Children from Their Games, 1963; formed a production company, Chelly Ltd., 1970. Awards: National Society of Film Critics Best Supporting Actor, for Bonnie and Clyde, 1967; Best Actor Academy Award, National Board of Review Best Actor, New York Film Critics Circle Best Actor, Best Motion Picture Actor-Drama Golden Globe, for The French Connection, 1971; Best Actor British Academy Award, for The French Connection and The Poseidon Adventure, 1972; National Board of Review Best Actor, for The Conversation, 1974; National Board of Review Best Actor, Berlin Film Festival Best Actor, for Mississippi Burning, 1988; Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, Best Actor in a Supporting Role British Academy Award, National Society of Film Critics Best Supporting Actor, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor, New York Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actor, Best Performance by an Actr in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Golden Globe, for Unforgiven, 1992. Address: c/o Guttman, 118 South Beverly Drive, #201, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, U.S.A.

Films as Actor:


Mad Dog Coll (Balaban) (as cop)


Lilith (Rossen) (as Norman)


Hawaii (Hill) (as the Rev. John Whipple)


A Covenant with Death (Johnson) (as Harmsworth); First to Fight (Nyby) (as Sgt. Tweed); Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn) (as Buck Barrow); Banning (Winston) (as Tommy Del Gaddo)


Shadow on the Land (Sarafian—for TV); The Split (Flemyng) (as Lt. Walter Brill); Riot (Kulik) (as Red Fletcher)


The Gypsy Moths (Frankenheimer) (as Joe Browdy); Downhill Racer (Ritchie) (as coach); Marooned (John Sturges) (as Buzz Lloyd); I Never Sang for My Father (Cates) (as Gene Garrison)


Doctors' Wives (Schaefer) (as Dr. Dave Randolph); Confrontation (Hiller—short)


The Hunting Party (Medford); The French Connection (Friedkin) (as Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle)


Prime Cut (Ritchie) (as "Mary Ann"); Cisco Pike (Norton) (as Holland); The Poseidon Adventure (Neame) (as the Rev. Frank Scott)


Scarecrow (Schatzberg) (as Max)


The Conversation (Coppola) (as Harry Caul); Zandy's Bride (Troell) (as Zandy); Young Frankenstein (Mel Brooks) (as guest)


Night Moves (Arthur Penn) (as Harry Moseby); Bite the Bullet (Richard Brooks) (as Sam Clayton); French Connection II (Frankenheimer) (as Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle); Lucky Lady (Donen) (as Kibby)


The Domino Principle (The Domino Killings) (Kramer) (as Roy Tucker)


A Bridge Too Far (Attenborough) (as Maj. Gen. Sosabowski); March or Die (Richards) (as Maj. William Sherman Foster); A Look at Liv (Liv Ullmann's Norway) (Kaplan) (appearance)


Formula I, febbre della velocità (Speed Fever) (Orefici and Morra) (as interviewee); Superman (Donner) (as Lex Luthor)


Superman II (Lester) (as Lex Luthor); The Making of Superman: The Movie (Johnstone—doc) (appearance)


All Night Long (Tramont) (as George Dupler); Reds (Beatty) (as Pete Van Wherry)


Under Fire (Spottiswoode) (as Alex); Superman III (Lester) (as Lex Luthor); Uncommon Valor (Kotcheff) (as Col. Rhodes)


Misunderstood (Schatzberg) (as Ned); Eureka (Roeg—produced in 1982) (as Jack McCann)


Twice in a Lifetime (Yorkin) (as Harry Mackenzie); Target (Arthur Penn) (as Walter Lloyd)


Hoosiers (Best Shot) (Anspaugh) (as Coach Norman Dale); Power (Lumet) (as Wilfred Buckley)


No Way Out (Donaldson) (as David Brice, Secretary of Defense); Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (Furie) (as Lex Luthor)


Another Woman (Woody Allen) (as Larry); Bat 21 (Markle) (as Lt. Col. Iceal Hambleton); Full Moon in Blue Water (Masterson) (as Floyd); Split Decisions (Kid Gloves) (Drury) (as Dan McGuinn); Mississippi Burning (Parker) (as Anderson)


The Package (Davis) (as Johnny Gallagher); Loose Cannons (Clarke) (as Mac)


Narrow Margin (Hyams) (as Robert Caulfield); Postcards from the Edge (Nichols) (as Lowell); Class Action (Apted) (Jedediah Tucker Ward)


Company Business (Meyer) (as Sam Boyd); Class Action (Apted) (as Jedediah Tucker Ward)


Unforgiven (Eastwood) (as Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett)


Geronimo: An American Legend (Walter Hill) (as Brig.Gen. George Crook); The Firm (Pollack) (as Avery Tolar); Earth and the American Dream (Couturie—doc) (voice only)


Wyatt Earp (Kasdan) (as Nicholas Earp)


Crimson Tide (Scott) (as Captain Frank Ramsey); The Quick and the Dead (Raimi) (as Herod); Get Shorty (Sonnenfeld) (as Harry Zimm)


The Birdcage (Mike Nichols) (as Senator Kevin Keeley); The Chamber (Foley) (as Sam Cayhall); Extreme Measures (Apted) (as Dr. Lawrence Myruick)


Absolute Power (Eastwood) (as President Richmond)


Enemy of the State (Scott) (as Brill); Antz (Darnell, Guterman) (as voice of General Mandible); Twilight (Benton) (as Jack Ames)


Hitchcock, Selznick and the End of Hollywood (Epstein) (as Narrator)


The Replacements (Deutch) (as McGinty); Breakers (Mirkin); Under Suspicion (Hopkins)


Pearl Harbor (Bay)


By HACKMAN: articles—

Interview with N. Mills, in Stills (London), April 1986.

Interview with B. Paskin, in Films and Filming (London), May 1986.

"Hackman: The Last Honest Man in America," interview with Beverly Walker, in Film Comment (New York), November/December 1988.

Interview with John C. Tibbetts, in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury), January 1993.

By HACKMAN: book—

Hackman, Gene & Lenihan, Daniel, Wake of the Perdido Star: A Novel of Shipwrecks, Pirates, and the Sea, Newmarket Press, 1999.

On HACKMAN: book—

Hunter, Allan, Gene Hackman, London, 1987.

Munn, Michael, Gene Hackman, Robert Hale Limited, 1997.

On HACKMAN: articles—

Current Biography 1972, New York, 1972.

Hamill, P., "Hackman," in Film Comment (New York), September-October 1974.

Luft, Herbert G., "Gene Hackman: An American of Strength and Doubts," in Films in Review (New York), January 1975.

Ecran (Paris), October 1978.

Ward, Robert, "I'm Not a Movie Star: I'm an Actor!," in American Film (Washington, D.C.), March 1983.

Elia, M., "Gene Hackman. Monsieur Tout-le-monde," in Séquences (Montreal), November 1989.

Emerson, Jim, "Man of Iron," in Premiere (New York), February 1991.

Stars, September 1992.

Radio Times (London), 29 April 1995.

* * *

Gene Hackman is one of that rare breed of actor whose star status has been built on talent alone. He may not be the handsomest or sexiest performer in the picture; his romantic roles have been infrequent, and mostly marginal to the plot. But you cannot stop watching him whenever he is on screen, even when the film in which he is appearing is run-of-the-mill. Hackman is an instinctive, intensely physical actor, as much at home playing loud-mouthed bullies and cunningly manipulative bad guys as stalwart or brooding heroes. He is especially adept at expressing himself by modulating his voice and subtly altering his expression, both of which communicate more to the audience than any dialogue. Few actors are more expert at giving ordinary people shadings of psychological complexity, and making larger-than-life characters seem more vulnerable and believable.

The first phase of Hackman's career commenced in the late 1960s. He had made his screen debut in a bit part as a cop in Mad Dog Coll, when he already had turned 30; six years were to pass before his appearance in Bonnie and Clyde, the first film in which he earned critical and audience attention. His performance as the genial but dimwitted older brother of Clyde Barrow won him an Oscar nomination, and instant stardom. He cemented his fame four years later with an Academy Award-winning star turn as "Popeye" Doyle, the bellicose, bigoted narcotics cop, in The French Connection. In between, he was splendid as the dutiful son unable to connect with his elderly parent in I Never Sang for My Father. Afterwards, he was equally fine as the obsessive surveillance expert in The Conversation; the itinerant bum lurching toward fellowship with another drifter in Scarecrow; and the dogged but emotionally torn-apart detective in Night Moves. His versatility may be exemplified by contrasting his performances in The French Connection and Night Moves. In each, he plays a good guy in search of bad guys, yet in The French Connection his performance befits his role in that it is outward and in-your-face; "Popeye" Doyle is a character whose actions affect others in the story. Conversely, in Night Moves, his outward toughness masks an inner vulnerability as he plays a character who not so much acts as is acted upon.

Hackman's career continued in a similar vein into the 1980s, at which point he offered equally fine performances as the television journalist who is intent upon becoming an anchorman in Under Fire; the tough, unorthodox basketball coach in Hoosiers; and the veteran FBI agent in Mississippi Burning. His way of getting inside a character is best summed up by critic Roger Ebert, writing about Under Fire: "Hackman never really convinced me that he could be an anchorman, but he did a better thing. He convinced me that he thought he could be one."

Not all of Hackman's films, however, have been of the highest caliber. His career has been littered with appearances in films ranging from the awful to the merely forgettable. This list begins with The Split, Riot, Doctors' Wives, The Hunting Party, Prime Cut, Cisco Pike, Zandy's Bride, The Domino Principle, and March or Die; and continues with Bat 21, Full Moon in Blue Water, Split Decisions, The Package, Loose Cannons, Narrow Margin, Company Business, and The Quick and the Dead. Mixed in were prestige roles in high-profile, big-budget Hollywood spectacles which required little more than his imposing presence. In Superman and its various sequels, he is the comically oily villain Lex Luthor. He is top-billed above an all-star cast in The Poseidon Adventure, one of the 1970s best disaster films, playing a heroic minister who cooly takes control after the capsizing of an ocean liner. Perhaps it was his coming to stardom at such a relatively advanced age—he was past 40 when he made The French Connection—that compelled him to be less selective in his choice of roles.

The second phase of Hackman's career started in the mid-1980s, when he began accepting juicy co-starring and supporting roles as corrupted authority figures. Some have been downright villainous: the scheming Secretary of Defense, who tries to cover up his murder of his mistress and in so doing makes an imposing foil for hero Kevin Costner, in No Way Out; a strikingly similar role in Absolute Power, only here he is a duplicitous U.S. President and his nemesis is Clint Eastwood; and, most memorable of all, the ruthless outlaw-turned-sheriff, who hides his viciousness beneath a folksy demeanor, in Eastwood's Unforgiven (for which he earned a second Oscar). Other, similar characters have been more complexly twisted and deluded: the high-powered attorney who becomes mentor to hero Tom Cruise, and proves to be anguished and regretful, in The Firm; and the crusty, set-in-his-ways nuclear submarine commander, whose faulty judgment is challenged by hero Denzel Washington, in Crimson Tide. He also is excellent at playing understated drama, working smoothly with Paul Newman and Susan Sarandon as a terminally ill actor who manipulates Newman's retired private detective in Twilight. But you always can expect a curve ball from Hackman. Once viewers became used to seeing him as foils for the hero, he offered an equally impressive performance in Get Shorty as a schlock movie producer who becomes comically involved with gangsters while attempting to finance his next project. In Get Shorty, actors other than Hackman—John Travolta, Delroy Lindo, Dennis Farina—get to be the tough guy. In The Birdcage, he proved adept at playing farce in his role as a moralistic, ultra-conservative U.S. Senator. And on occasion, he even was a good guy: in Enemy of the State, he is a hermit-like renegade surveillance expert who offers key assistance to hero Will Smith.

Despite his frequent lapses in judgment in selecting his film projects, Hackman has over the course of four decades appeared in an impressive list of exceptional films. In each, he has proved time and again to be a rock-solid actor, and a master of his craft.

—Fiona Valentine, updated by Rob Edelman