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One of the remarkable aspects of GENE HACKMAN's (Jack Ames) emergence as one of the major actors of his generation, is that there is no such thing as a Gene Hackman role

One of the remarkable aspects of GENE HACKMAN's (Jack Ames) emergence as one of the major actors of his generation, is that there is no such thing as a Gene Hackman role. He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar® for his portrayal of the vicious sheriff in "Unforgiven." He previously received an Oscar® for Best Actor for "The French Connection," a Best Actor nomination for "Mississippi Burning" and Best Supporting Actor nominations for "I Never Sang For My Father" and "Bonnie and Clyde."

Recent roles have seen Hackman playing a right-wing conservative senator in "The Birdcage," with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, a manipulative movie producer in "Get Shorty," with John Travolta, and a charismatic by-the-books military commander in "Crimson Tide" with Denzel Washington. Other films include "The Quick and the Dead," "Extreme Measures," "The Chamber" and "Absolute Power" with Clint Eastwood.

Hackman's teaming with Tom Cruise as a smooth-as-silk corporate lawyer in "The Firm," his follow-up to Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven," gave him two back-to-back $100 million winners at the U.S. box-office.

Gene Hackman has been celebrated as an actor who literally seems to disappear into the characters he plays. "Unforgiven," directed by and co-starring Clint Eastwood, gave us a conscienceless brute who saw himself as civilized. As a direct contrast to the kind of law Hackman practices in "The Firm," is the compassionate attorney he played in "Class Action." His versatility is further evidenced in his critically acclaimed return to his New York stage roots, in Mike Nichol's "Death and the Maiden," with Glen Close and Richard Dreyfuss.

Two projects, "Geronimo" with Robert Duvall and "Wyatt Earp" with Kevin Costner, are both westerns reflecting the resurgence of the form kicked off by the success of "Unforgiven," casting him in historical roles in each case.

The driven, almost monomaniacal energy of his Oscar® winning portrayal of Popeye Doyle in "The French Connection," bears no relationship to the laconic, good old boy FBI agent he created in "Mississippi Burning" for which he earned his most recent Best Actor nomination. It has been noted frequently that he literally seems to disappear into the characters he plays in (repetition of earlier sentence) such film as "Hoosiers," Another Woman," "The Package," Mike Nichol's "Postcards from the Edge" (with Meryl Streep) and in Peter Hyam's "The Narrow Margin."

Even a brief list of Hackman's films recall the dazzling virtuosity and variety of his choices and achievements, "Bonnie and Clyde," "Scarecrow," "The Conversation," "Under Fire," "All Night Long," "Reds," "Twice in a Lifetime," "No Way Out." The common denominators are talent and his daring.

Diversity has always been a Hackman hallmark, a fact established early in the career by the contrast between two Oscar® nominated performances: Melvin Douglas' tortured son in "I Never Sang For My Father" and the brutal Popeye Doyle in "The French Connection," shortly followed by two of his most respected and most dangerously off-beat portrayals: the raucous and trigger-tempered p

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