Monday, January 30, 2012


Actor Gene Hackman turns 82 years old today. Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, on January 30, 1930. His family moved frequently, finally settling in Danville, Illinois, where they lived in the house of his English-born maternal grandmother. Hackman's father operated the printing press for the Commercial-News, a local paper. Hackman's parents divorced in 1943 and his father subsequently left the family. He lived briefly in Storm Lake, Iowa, and his sophomore home room photograph is in the 1945 Storm Lake High School "Breeze" year-book. At age sixteen, Hackman left home to join the United States Marine Corps, where he served four-and-a-half years as a field radio operator. After his discharge, he moved to New York, working in several minor jobs. In 1956, Hackman began pursuing an acting career; he joined the Pasadena Playhouse in California. It was there that he forged a friendship with another aspiring actor, Dustin Hoffman.
Nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two, Hackman has also won three Golden Globes and two BAFTAs in a career that spanned five decades. He first came to fame in 1967 with his performance as Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde. His major later films include The French Connection (1971), in which he played Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle; The Poseidon Adventure (1972); The Conversation (1974); Young Frankenstein (1974); Superman (1978), in which he played arch-villain Lex Luthor; Hoosiers (1986); Mississippi Burning (1987); Unforgiven (1992); Get Shorty (1995); The Birdcage (1996); Enemy Of The State (1998); and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). His final screen appearance was in 2004 in Welcome to Mooseport.

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