Is a Dallas Cowboys fan.
Raised in Danville, Illinois.
Studied journalism and TV production at the University of Illinois.
Before he decided to become an actor, he worked numerous jobs including announcing at small radio and TV stations.
Appeared on Richard Nixon's infamous "List of Enemies" during the 1972 presidential election, the only time Hackman was publicly involved in politics. During an interview on "Larry King Live" (1985) in July 2004, Hackman stated that although he is a Democrat, he liked President Ronald Reagan, who had died the previous month.
Hackman has said that the failure of Scarecrow (1973) turned him off of art films due to the disappointment of working hard on a film that was critically acclaimed, but that tanked at the box office and failed to garner any awards. After this flop, Hackman mainly concentrated on acting for money, turning down such films as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and Network (1976) for roles in films like March or Die (1977) and Lucky Lady (1975) that offered him fatter paychecks.
His performance as Harry Caul in The Conversation (1974) is ranked #37 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Hackman replaced George Segal in the role of Kibby in the notorious flop Lucky Lady (1975). Possibly anticipating that the film would be a turkey, Segal bailed out of the production and Hackman was brought in at the last-minute. The desperate producers paid Hackman -- riding high from the huge box office success of The Poseidon Adventure (1972), a reported $1.2 million for his role, $500,000 more than Segal's going-rate. Hackman knew co-star Burt Reynolds from starring in the first episode of Burt's short-lived 1966 TV series "Hawk" (1966).
Has played three fictional Presidents: he plays President Alan Richmand in Absolute Power (1997). His Superman (1978) character, Lex Luthor, became President of the United States in the year 2000, in the DC Comics. He also played President Monroe "Eagle" Cole in Welcome to Mooseport (2004).
In the Superman movies, he didn't like the idea of going bald for his role as Lex Luthor. He was allowed to wear wigs instead, and was convinced to wear a bald cap in only a few scenes.
Was the first choice to play Mike Brady on "The Brady Bunch" (1969).
He was the sixth choice to play Popeye Doyle in The French Connection (1971).
He lied about his age to join the Marines at 16 but left as soon as his initial 3 year tour was complete.
While at the Pasadena Playhouse, Hackman and a classmate were voted "Least likely to succeed". The classmate was Dustin Hoffman.
Was the first choice to play Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
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