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Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman has received two Academy Awards: Best Actor for The French Connection and Best Supporting Actor for Unforgiven. He also received Oscar nominations for Bonnie and Clyde, I Never Sang For My Father and Mississippi Burning. His list of honors also includes two British Academy Awards, three Golden Globes, two National Organization of Theatre Owners Awards, the Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award, and a comprehensive collection of awards from leading critics' groups. He has received retrospective tributes from the British Film Institute, the San Francisco Film Festival and the American Film Institute. Most recently, he received the Cecile B. DeMille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association at the 2003 Golden Globes ceremony.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Hackman's emergence as one of the major actors of his generation is that there is no such thing as a Gene Hackman role. Hackman's most recent roles include the scheming patriarch of a dysfunctional family in The Royal Tenenbaums, for which he won his third Golden Globe Award, a hardnosed naval commander whose methods buck the system in Behind Enemy Lines and a life-long conman pulling off his final con in David Mamet's The Heist. Other recent film roles cast him as a sexually tormented businessman in Under Suspicion, a man dragged in over his head when drafted as a pro football coach during a strike in The Replacements and a reprobate magnate targeted by two beautiful women in Heartbreakers.

Hackman's recent feature credits also include starring roles in Enemy of the State, opposite Will Smith, Robert Benton's Twilight, with Paul Newman and Susan Sarandon, Extreme Measures, The Birdcage, also starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, and Clint Eastwood's Absolute Power, in which Eastwood also starred.

Hackman earned his second Oscar for his role as the vicious sheriff in Unforgiven, the Academy Award-winning western directed by and also starring Eastwood and Morgan Freeman. He also starred in another western The Quick and the Dead, opposite Sharon Stone, The Crimson Tide, opposite Denzel Washington, and Get Shorty, with John Travolta and Danny DeVito.

Previously Hackman has starred in two other films based on John Grisham's novels, The Firm and The Chamber.

Hackman began his career in the theatre and made his screen debut in the 1964 film, Lilith, which starred Warren Beatty. Since then Hackman has appeared in more than 70 films, ranging from comedies to action films to westerns to dramas. These include Francis Ford Coppola's critically acclaimed The Conversation, the boxoffice hit The Poseidon Adventure, Warren Beatty's Academy award-winning Reds, Scarecrow, Hoosiers, Another Woman, Under Fire, All Night Long, Twice in a Lifetime, Night Moves, directed by Arthur Penn, and three of the Superman films in which he appeared as Lex Luthor.

Hackman was born in Riverside, California, and reared in Danville, Illinois, where his father was a newspaper printer. He jointed the Marines at 16 and became a radio operator. After his discharge from the service, Hackman moved from radio to television and worked at various small-town television stations. He eventually returned to the West Coast and enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse where one of his classmates was Dustin Hoffman. There, Hackman made his stage debut with Zazu Pitts in The Curious Miss Caraway.

After a period of summer stock, Hackman moved to New York where he studied with George Morrison and began getting small parts on television and in stage productions. He won the Clarence Derwent Award for his performance in Irwin Shaw's Children at Their Games, and had his first starring role on Broadway opposite Sandy Dennis in the hit comedy, Any Wednesday.

In addition to his work as an actor, Hackman is an author of the novel, Wake of the Perdido Star, which he wrote with Daniel Lenihan. Hackman also paints, flies a plane and races automobiles. In addition, he's an avid film collector.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Gene Hackman Facts

Birth NameEugene Alden Hackman
BirthdayJanuary 30, 1930 (92)
BirthplaceSan Bernadino, California, USA
Height6' 2" (1m88)  How tall is Gene Hackman compared to you?
Awards2003 Golden Globe Awards: Cecil B. DeMille Award
2002 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (for The Royal Tenenbaums)
1993 Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor (for Unforgiven)
1993 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture (for Unforgiven)
1993 BAFTA Awards: Actor in a Supporting Role (for Unforgiven)
1972 Academy Awards: Best Actor (for The French Connection)
1972 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama (for The French Connection)

Selected Filmography

The Firm
Get Shorty
Pearl Harbor
The Birdcage
The Royal Tenenbaums
A Bridge Too Far
Crimson Tide
The Conversation
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