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Now that he is retired, Gene Hackman is devoting his time to writing novels -- so far, three with co-writer Daniel Lenihan and one alone.

  • Hackman, Gene. Payback at Morning Peak: A Novel of the American West. New York: Pocket Books, 2011. 391 pgs. Hackman's first solo novel is described thusly: "With only memories of his family left to him, Jubal Young rides west into New Mexico in order to bring justice, or vengeance, to the drunken renegades that took everything from him."

  • Hackman, Gene, and Daniel Lenihan. Escape from Andersonville: A Novel of the Civil War. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2008. 342 pgs. OCLC summary: "Incarcerated within a murderous Confederate prison camp in 1864, Union officer Nathan Parker escapes and urges his superiors to intervene, but when his efforts are blocked by military higher-ups, he organizes a private rescue mission with a shady ex-soldier."

  • Hackman, Gene, and Daniel Lenihan. Justice for None. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2004. 320 pgs. summary: "In their second novel, Gene Hackman and Daniel Lenihan bring to life the harsh plains and smoldering courtrooms of the Midwest: the small town of Vermilion, Illinois, on the brink of the Great Depression. Boyd Calvin is a troubled World War I veteran on the run from the law, suspected of murdering his estranged wife and her lover. Only a female reporter for the Chicago Tribune and the head of a sanitarium for veterans are not convinced of Boyd's guilt. Boyd joins forces with another wrongly accused man, an African-American, and the two begin to face their shadowed pasts while fighting against the odds of justice."

  • Hackman, Gene, and Daniel Lenihan. Wake of the Perdido Star. New York: Newmarket Press, 1999. 384 pgs.  Hackman's first published work is an action novel "of shipwrecks, pirates, and the sea" set in the early nineteenth century.   Lenihan, Hackman's co-writer and friend, is a noted underwater archaeologist.


Despite his reputation as one of the great film actors, surprisingly little has been published about Gene Hackman in the way of full-length books.   Perhaps his natural reticence and unglamorous lifestyle are reasons.  The two biographies below are apparently the only English-language profiles ever published, and both were written by Britons. 

  • Hunter, Alan. Gene Hackman. New York: St, Martin's Press, 1987. 248 pgs.  An unauthorized, straightforward account of Hackman's life and work.   There's little analysis of Hackman himself, neglecting especially his early years and what may have drawn him to acting.  Some good behind-the-scenes accounts, though, especially about the making of French Connection.
  • Michael, Munn. Gene Hackman. London: Robert Hale, 1997. 192 pgs.  Also quite cut-and-dried, though a bit more analytical of Hackman's personality and working methods.  Munn has spoken with Hackman numerous times throughout the years and uses these interviews well.  

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  • Bravo Profiles: Gene Hackman (2000).   The actor gives a rare TV interview  in this one-hour profile, which includes family photos and comments by collaborators.  Not available on video, but check Bravo's monthly schedule for repeat airdates. 
  • Gene Hackman: Portrait of the Artist. Produced by Van Ness Films in association with Foxstar Productions and A&E Network. New York: A&E Home Video, 1996.  Originally airing on A&E's Biography, this is a solid introduction to the actor, and in some respects contains more insight than the print biographies listed above.
  • Inside the Actor's Studio: Gene Hackman. (Originally aired 10/14/01 on the Bravo cable channel).  Gene is the guest for the celebrated program's 100th episode.  As always, host James Lipton uncovers little-known information about his subject and convinces the normally shy actor to open up.  This fascinating 60-minute interview is not available on video but will air again.  The Bravo website has excerpts from the interview and other information about Hackman (the site's design prevents me from including a direct link, so you'll have to do some searching).

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While few books have been published about Hackman, scores of newspaper and magazines stories have appeared.  The list below includes just a few pieces.  If you live in the Danville, Illinois area, a good source is a clippings file maintained by the Public Library's Reference Department

  • Blinn, John. "Gene Hackman: Foodstyles of a Danville Celebrity Who Likes to Cook." Danville Commercial-News, November 28, 1971, pg. 14.  Profiles Gene on the verge of stardom (just before the release of French Connection) talking about his love of food, and even includes his recipe for shrimp tempura.

    Chatfield-Taylor, Joan and Mary E. Nichols. "Gene Hackman: Santa Fe Spaces for The French Connection's Best Actor." Architectural Digest 47 (April 1990): 250-257+.  Photographic tour of Hackman's Southwestern-style home.
  • Culhane, John. "Gene Hackman's Winning Wave." Reader's Digest 143 (Sep 1993): 88-92.  One of the few times Hackman has openly discussed his father's abrupt departure from the family (when Gene was 13), something he surely drew on when filming I Never Sang for My Father.

  • Dreifus, Claudia. "Hackman Talks: A Rare Interview." Connoisseur 218 (Aug 1988): 50-57.

  • Edelstein, David. "Gene Hackman, Hollywood's Every Angry Man." New York Times, December 16, 2001, Section II, pgs. 21, 29.  Profiles the actor, including his work on The Royal Tenenbaums

  • Hawkes, Ellen. "The Day His Father Drove Away." Parade Magazine (February 26, 1989): pgs. 10-12.  Another account of Hackman's father's departure.

  • Norman, Michael. "Hollywood's Uncommon Everyman." New York Times Magazine 121 (Mar 19, 1989): 28-31.

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