Eugene Alden Hackman is the elder son of Eugene Ezra Hackman and Lyda Gray Hackman. He was twelve when his younger brother, Richard, was born, and a year later, his parents divorced. He wed Fay Maltese on 1 January 1956, and by 1963, they had a daughter, Elizabeth, and a son, Christopher (b. 1960). Another daughter, Leslie, followed later. They divorced in 1986, and in December of 1991, Gene wed Betsy Arakawa, and the two have been together since.
When he was 16, Hackman lied about his age to join the Marines. He soon realised it wasn't the right choice for him, but he stuck ou his three year tour before leaving. He then moved to the city, where he decided to try his hand at acting. His first love has always been live theater, but he has always excelled on the big screen. He attended the Pasadena Playhouse, where he and was voted Least Likely to Succeed along with younger ate Dustin Hoffman. The first few years in Hollywood, he, Dustin Hoffman, and Robert Duvall were great friends. In the 1990s, he did TV commercials for both United Airlines and the Oppenheimer Funds, and in 1999, also lent his voice to a radio commercial for CNN. He also co-authored Wake of the Perdido Sea with Jack Lenihan.
Hackman was the first choice to play Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch. The role eventually went to Robert Reed.
Hackman was the first choice to play Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs. The role eventually went to Anthony Hopkins.
Hackman was offered the chance to direct The Silence of the Lambs. That job was later filled by Jonathan Demme.
Hackman was offered the role of President Franklin Roosevelt in Pearl Harbor. The role eventually went to Jon Voight.
Hackman was the sixth choice to play Popeye in The French Connection. The film won him his first Academy Award.
Academy Awards: Nominated in 1968 (supporting actor, for Bonnie and Clyde), 1971 (supporting actor, for I Never Sang for My Father), 1972 (lead actor, for The French Connection), 1989 (lead actor, for Mississippi Burning), and 1992 (supporting actor, for Unforgiven). He won in both 1972 and 1992.
American Film Institute: Won in 2001 (supporting actor, for The Royal Tennenbaums).
Blockbuster Entertainment: Won in 1997 (for The Birdcage), nominated in 1999 (for Enemy of the State).
British Academy of Film and Television: Nominated seven times, won twice in 1973 and once in 1993.
Golden Globes: Nominated eight times, won in 1972, 1993 and 2001 (supporting actor, for The Royal Tennenbaums).
Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Won in 1992 (for Unforgiven).
National Board of Review: Won in 1971, 1974, and 1988.
National Society of Film Critics: Won in 1968 and 1993.
New York Film Critics Circle: Won in 1971 and 1992.