Clint EastwoodGene Hackman

The Real Reason For Gene Hackman’s Sudden Disappearance From The Big Screen


Gene Hackman is known for films including The French Connection, Bonnie and Clyde, Unforgiven, and The Royal Tenenbaums. But, for nearly 20 years, the actor hasn’t put out any new movies. The once prolific actor did in fact retire from acting—though not because he was no longer interested in entertainment, but because of a health concern.

Hackman retired from acting in 2004 when he was 74. Since then he has rarely given interviews and stays away from Hollywood life. But, the now 92-year-old has shared a little about his decision to stop acting and his life in recent years here and there. Plus, fans were surprised when some rare photos of him came out a couple of years ago. Read on to find out what happened with Hackman and to learn about the second career he took on.

He stopped acting because of his health.

In a 2009 interview with Empire, Hackman opened up about retiring from acting. “The straw that broke the camel’s back was actually a stress test that I took in New York,” he said. “The doctor advised me that my heart wasn’t in the kind of shape that I should be putting it under any stress.”

Hackman also made sure his retirement status was clear. “The agents don’t want me to say it, in case something good comes along,” he said. “But I’m officially retired. No doubt about it.” He was asked if “Hollywood got the message” and he responded, “I haven’t talked to Hollywood much lately, so I don’t really know. But I would guess that they’ve moved on.”

His last movie came out in 2004.

Hackman’s last movie was the 2004 comedy Welcome to Mooseport, which co-starred Ray Romano. Some of his other final films are 2003’s Runaway Jury and several movies released in 2001, including The Royal Tenenbaums, Behind Enemy Lines, and The Mexican.

His career as an author continued.

In addition to being an actor, Hackman also has a writing career. He has published three books with writing partner Daniel Lenihan and two books written on his own. Hackman and Lenihan’s first novel, Wake of the Perdido Star, was published in 1999. Hackman’s latest, Pursuit, came out in 2013.
“It’s very relaxing for me,” Hackman told Empire of writing. “I don’t picture myself as a great writer, but I really enjoy the process, especially on this book [2008’s Escape From Andersonville: A Novel Of The Civil War]. We had to do a great deal of research on it to get some of the facts right, and it is stressful to some degree, but it’s a different kind of stress. It’s one you can kind of manage, because you’re sitting there by yourself, as opposed to having ninety people sitting around waiting for you to entertain them!”


He’s also spending his time with other interests.

The Empire interview explained that Hackman was enjoying fishing and painting during his retirement from acting. The Oscar-winner also shared that he likes watching movies at home with his wife, Betsy Arakawa. “We like simple stories that some of the little low-budget films manage to produce,” he said. Hackman and Arakawa live in New Mexico. He has three children with his first wife, Faye Maltese.

He gave a rare interview last year.

In 2021, Hackman spoke to the New York Post for a story about the 50th anniversary of The French Connection. “Filmmaking has always been risky—both physically and emotionally—but I do choose to consider that film a moment in a checkered career of hits and misses,” he said.

Hackman also shared that he hadn’t seen the movie since it came out. “[I] haven’t seen the film since the first screening in a dark, tiny viewing room in a post-production company’s facility 50 years ago.” He added, “The film certainly helped me in my career, and I am grateful for that.”

Fans previously got a rare update about Hackman two years earlier. He’s not seen much publicly these days, but in 2019, Official Pix shared pictures of him while he was participating in an autograph signing.


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