Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman

His role as Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle in 'The French Connection' (1971)
Gene Hackman was born to be an actor, but it took him 30 years to realize it. Born on January 30, 1930, in San Bernadino, California, and raised in Illinois, Hackman became restless early and dropped out of high school at age 16. He lied about his age and joined the Marines, where he was trained as a radio operator and then shipped off to China. That training came in handy when his unit's announcer was injured and Hackman took over the job of radio dj.Hackman attended the University of Illinois under the GI Bill. studying journalism and TV production before moving to New York to attend the School of Radio Technique. He spent the next several years moving from town to town working at various small radio and TV stations as an announcer. It wasn't until he was 30 that Hackman decided to pack his bags once more to attend the prestigious Pasadena Playhouse to take up acting . There he met a fellow student named Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman and Hackman immediately stood out from the other students, but not in the way you might expect: they were voted by their peers as "least likely to succeed."It didn't take Gene long to prove them wrong. He took the New York stage by storm, winning a prize as the most promising newcomer in Irwin Shaw's "Children At Their Games" (quite an achievement, considering the play lasted only one night), and garnered glowing reviews with Sandy Dennis in the comedy "Any Wednesday."Hackman's big break was being cast in the little-known Warren Beatty film Mad Dog Calls in 1961. Beatty remembered Hackman's craft and diligence for years after, and in 1967, actor and producer Beatty cast him as Buck Barrow, Clyde's dimwitted sibling in the landmark film Bonnie and Clyde. The role led to the first of Gene Hackman's five Oscar® nominations.Hackman became the consummate character actor, from his Oscar® nominated role as the burdened son in the poignant I Never Sang For My Father to the dastardly supervillain Lex Luthor in three Superman movies, to the quirky Popeye Doyle in The French Connection, and the pop psychology promoting priest in The Poseidon Adventure.Pundits in Hollywood have long felt he'd make a powerful director: in fact, Gene was slated to make his directorial debut lensing The Silence Of The Lambs. For reasons he's never revealed, he dropped out, making way for Jonathan Demme. But until then, we can enjoy his work as an actor, a star, and a film legend.Source: amctv.com
“[Did the two have any sense back then that they would be such massively successful and accomplished actors?] I would've been happy with an off, off Broadway job and that's what happened, ... We both started in something like that.”More Gene Hackman quotes [11/20/2006 12:11:00]
I write in the morning from about eight till noon, and sometimes again a bit in the afternoon. In the morning I start off by going over what I had done the previous day, which my wife has happily typed up for me.More Gene Hackman quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
“I was trained to be an actor, not a star. I was trained to play roles, not to deal with fame and agents and lawyers and the press.”More Gene Hackman quotes [11/20/2006 12:11:00]
I was trained to be an actor, not a star. I was trained to play roles, not to deal with fame and agents and lawyers and the press.More Gene Hackman quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
Dysfunctional families have sired a number of pretty good actors.More Gene Hackman quotes [08/11/2011 02:08:11]

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