Gene Hackman Photo Surfaces to Confirm Actor Is "Alive and Well" 17 Years After Retiring

Film historian and author James L Neibaur took to Twitter yesterday to share a recent photo of Superman: The Movie star Gene Hackman. The actor, who won Academy Awards for The French Connection (Best Actor) and Unforgiven (Best Supporting Actor), retired from show business seventeen years ago, and has been largely absent from public life since. According to Neibaur, Hackman is living in New Mexico, and remains active at age 91 (although the photo in question was taken when Hackman was 89). Hackman's last film was in the 2004 comedy Welcome to Mooseport, although in the years since, he has provided a voice for a pair of military-themed documentaries.

2006 also saw the release of Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, which featured previously-unreleased footage of Hackman's Lex Luthor. Besides Mooseport, which was fairly forgettable, Hackman went out on a strong note, with a five-year run of popular and mostly well-reviewed movies like The Royal Tenenbaums, The Replacements, and Enemy of the State.

You can see the shot below.

Hackman played Lex Luthor in Superman: The Movie, Superman II, and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. He did not appear in Superman III, supposedly due to a consensus among those involved that they didn't want Lex appearing in every movie. His version of Luthor has remained iconic, appearing in the comic book tie-in to 2019's Crisis on Infinite Earths TV event and getting a wink-and-a-nod reference in the Joss Whedon cut of Justice League.

Besides his Oscar wins, Hackman earned Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor in the films Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and I Never Sang for My Father (1970). He also managed to earn a Best Actor nomination for Mississippi Burning (1988).


Born in San Bernardino, California, in 1930, Hackman is one of only a handful of surviving members of the "Superman family" who was born prior to the creation of the Man of Steel in 1938. Besides the films mentioned above, Hackman starred in dozens more, including included The Poseidon Adventure, The Conversation, A Bridge Too Far, Hoosiers, No Way Out, Bat*21, The Firm, The Quick and the Dead, Get Shorty, Crimson Tide, Antz, and Behind Enemy Lines.