Gene Hackman Turns 90! Fans Pay Tribute to Iconic Retired Actor: ‘One of the All-Time Greats’

Gene Hackman is celebrating a milestone birthday!

The two-time Academy Award winner turned 90 on Thursday, and although it’s been over a decade since he’s starred in a film, the retired actor’s fans are still as adoring as ever.

“The magnificent Gene Hackman turns 90 years old today. Cheers to one of the all-time greats,” wrote one fan on Twitter, as another added: “Happy Birthday #GeneHackman Thanks for all the awesomeness you brought to our lives.”

“90 wow! One of my favorite all time actors. Whenever he’s on the screen I’m watching him. His facial expressions are priceless #GeneHackman,” added a third, as yet another chimed in, writing: “Happy birthday to Gene Hackman aka one of the few actors that has never made a bad movie. Here’s hoping you enjoy many more incredible birthdays! Much respect!”

Among the many roles Hackman played throughout his career, one that touched a chord with many viewers was his role as Coach Norman Dale in the 1986 classic Hoosiers.

“Happy Birthday #GeneHackman…My generation grew up wanting him as our coach…Of any sport…If I were on the swim team, I’d want to have the motivational speech given by Coach Hackman…” wrote one appreciative fan.

Many others also gave the actor a shout-out for another memorable role: the infamous Superman villain Lex Luthor.

“Before @MrJonCryer, before Michael Rosenbaum… there was #GeneHackman,” wrote one social media user. “The best Lex Luthor ever seen on the big screen. I mean when you read the Superman comics & watched the 1978 film, you know you watched a comic book character come to life.”

Gene Hackman in The French Connection | Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock
Gene Hackman in The French Connection | Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

Hackman won two Academy Awards over the course of his decades-long career.

His first nomination came in 1967 for Bonnie and Clyde and in 1971, which marked his third time getting an Oscar nod, he walked away with the statuette for his leading role as Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle in The French Connection.

Hackman was nominated two more times, once in 1988 for Mississippi Burning and again in 1992 for Unforgiven, which marked his second victory.

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Despite his continued success, The Royal Tenenbaums star bid his industry adieu on July 7, 2004, telling Larry King that his career was “probably all over,” and that he had no new scripts in front of him. Confirming his retirement in 2008, he expanded on his thoughts several years later, telling GQ that it would take a lot for him to make another film.

“I don’t know. If I could do it in my own house, maybe, without them disturbing anything and just one or two people,” he said, later telling the outlet that he just hopes to be remembered “as a decent actor.”

His last film was 2004’s Welcome to Mooseport, although he has since narrated two documentary films: The Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jim (2016) and We, the Marines (2017).