Gene Hackman: A Look Back at the Life and Career of "The French Connection" Oscar-Winning Actor

Herbie J Pilato

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According to IMDB.com, while studying and performing at the Pasadena Playhouse, Oscar-winning actor Gene Hackman and a classmate were voted "Least likely to succeed." That classmate was another Oscar winner: Dustin Hoffman.

As IMDB continues to document, Hackman was the first choice to play Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch (1969), while he was later the sixth choice to portray Popeye Doyle, his Oscar-winning role in The French Connection (1971).

Additionally, Hackman was the first choice to play Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, the 1991 feature film that he was also offered the opportunity to direct.

IMDB also notes how Hackman rejected the role of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Pearl Harbor (2001), which went to Jon Voight.

Calling Hackman "One of the most sustaining actors of all time," IMDB also reveals how the actor " still averaged two films a year in his 70s, having starred in six in 2001 alone. This all changed however in 2004 when he last acted in Welcome to Mooseport (2004). He has not appeared in anything since."

As IMDB further notes, Hackman has said that his performance in Scarecrow (1973) is his personal favorite.

In a 1994 interview on Inside the Actors Studio, Hackman said that two of the most important factors in deciding on which films he will work on are the script and the money.

As IMDB.com concludes, Hackman has appeared in three films adapted from novels by John Grisham: The Firm (1993), The Chamber (1996), and Runaway Jury (2003). And he based his role, in The Conversation (1974), on one of his uncles and a fellow Marine he had known well.

To read more about Gene Hackman, click here.

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

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