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Gene Hackman gave his first interview in a decade, telling The Post about his “checkered career of hits and misses

Hollywood legend Gene Hackman proved he’s still in tip-top shape as he performed yard work at his ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Sunday.

The “Unforgiven” actor — who celebrated his 93rd birthday in January — looked fit and healthy as he brandished a shovel at his private estate.

Earlier in the day, the two-time Oscar winner was spotted fueling up for physical labor at a local Wendy’s, where he ordered a meal at the drive-thru.

Hungry Hackman chowed down on his chicken sandwich in the fast food franchise’s parking lot before pumping gas at a nearby station.
It was a rare sighting of the reclusive and retired star, who was last seen on-screen in the 2004 comedy “Welcome to Mooseport.”
Despite being one of Tinseltown’s powerhouse performers — appearing in classics such as “The French Connection,” “The Conversation,” “Superman,” “Hoosiers” and “The Royal Tenenbaums” — Hackman has long shunned the bright lights of Hollywood.
The father of three, who has lived in New Mexico with his pianist wife, Betsy Arakawa, for decades, also abstains from giving interviews — except to The Post.
In late 2021, Hackman gave his first interview in a decade, telling The Post about his “checkered career of hits and misses.”
Speaking on the 50th anniversary of “The French Connection” — the hit film for which he won his first Best Actor Oscar, in 1972 — the star stated: “The film certainly helped me in my career, and I am grateful for that.”
The down-to-earth actor added that he wasn’t a fan of rewatching his own flicks and hadn’t seen the classic crime caper since 1971.
“[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 told The Post.
Hackman — who previously resided in ritzy Montecito, California — has lived in Santa Fe since the 1980s.
The actor is also an architect and designer who has helped create more than 10 homes — including a New Mexico manse that was featured in Architectural Digest.
Since his retirement from Hollywood, the star also busied himself writing novels, including the 2013 police thriller “Pursuit.”
In 2012, the actor was struck by a pickup truck while riding his bike in Florida. He was airlifted to the hospital and made a full recovery.
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Western

Steve McQueen: We didn’t get along,Brynner came up to me in front of a lot of people and grabbed me by the shoulder

YUL BRYNNER famously feuded with everyone from Steve McQueen to Ingrid Bergman, with an ego to match The King of Siam. His temper was legendary, his affairs were numerous – with men and women – and he famously flaunted his body in nude pictures. Even the reason behind his famous bald head was part of the man and the myth.

Whether thundering across the screen in The Magnificent Seven or scowling at the world in the King and I, Brynner was a unique screen presence. The self-proclaimed “Mongolian” star fought his way up from being an immigrant circus performer and loved to elevate himself to epic levels. When asked about his various conflicting dates of birth, he grandly replied, “Ordinary mortals need but one birthday.” He liked it to be known that he prepared breakfast in a silk kimono, other stars commented how he was “never far from a mirror” and his on-set demands and dramas were legendary. But then, his whole life had been extraordinary, from nearly dying in a youthful trapeze accident to numerous bisexual affairs along the way to becoming more famous than the Siamese king he played so many times on stage and screen.

Brynner’s iconic look was even a calculated ploy. He did not lose his hair but kept his head shaved because he enjoyed the attention he got for it when he debuted The King and I on Broadway in 1951. After that, he also demanded that he was never photographed with another bald man so that he always stood out in pictures.

The musical made his name but he chafed at taking second billing behind Gertrude Lawrence. When she died in 1952, he notoriously wept – but with joy because it meant his name would, at last, be top of the bill.
It was somehow fitting that he died just on October 10, 1985, just a few months after performing The King and I on Broadway – his 4,625th time taking the stage in his regal, spotlight role. For an actor who was obsessed his whole life with having top billing, he would have been far less pleased to know that he passed away on the same day as Orson Welles, and so was overshadowed in his final hour.
Brynner had grafted hard for his success and fought even harder to keep it. Raised in Beijing and abandoned by his father, his mother fled with her children to Paris in 1932, where talented acrobat Yul became a trapeze artist with the Cirque d’Hiver.
A horrifying fall in 1937 broke many bones in his body and left him unable to walk for eight months. He turned his attention to the stage and set sail for America in 1940.
During that first Hollywood decade of bit parts and odds jobs, he had an affair with handsome heartthrob Hurd Hatfield, who starred in 1945’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as 1961’s El Cid opposite Charlton Heston.
Married four times, he also had affairs with men and women alike, from Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford and Judy Garland to artist Jean Cocteau.
Brynner’s enormous success on Broadway brought him back to Hollywood as a star and he was determined to impress in every way. His obsession with his own appearance meant that he increased his work-out regime when he learned he was playing Pharaoh Ramses II opposite Heston’s Moses in 1956’s The Ten Commandments, so as not to be overshadowed by the strapping actor.
This meant he was in phenomenal shape when he starred as King Mongkut of Siam in the film version of The King and I that same year, going on to win the Best Actor Oscar.
His impressive physique was also bared for all to see when pictures surfaced of a naked shoot he had down with gay photographer George Platt Lynes.
In turn, Brynner was an accomplished photographer himself, taking noted snaps of famous friends like Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Anthony Quinn, Sophia Loren, Mia Farrow and Audrey Hepburn.
From the mid-1950s he instantly became established as a major Hollywood star, with roles, salary and ego to match. Unfortunately, he did not have the corresponding physical height, which lead to two of his most infamous showdowns with fellow Tinseltown legends.
Bergman was over an inch taller in flat feet than his own 5ft 6½in. When the Swedish actress politely asked him if he would like to use any props to stand on, Brynner hissed back: “I am not going to play this on a box, I’m going to show the world what a big horse you are.” Horselike or otherwise, the actress went on to win her own Oscar for that role, her second of three in total.
Brynner’s behaviour hit new “heights” on the 1960s sets for The Magnificent Seven, particularly centering on a running battle with co-star Steve McQueen, who wasn’t particularly tall himself at 5ft 8in.
Whenever they were shooting outside, Brynner would scuff the earth and dirt into low mounds for him to stand on. McQueen, in return, would causally flatten them as he walked past.
Increasingly amused and irritated by Brynner’s behaviour, McQueen would also play with his hat or belt whenever his co-star was talking in a scene to subtly pull focus. All those iconic shots of the square-jawed
star taking off his hat to shade his face or using it to scoop up water from river were mainly shameless scene-stealing tactics.
He later said: “We didn’t get along. Brynner came up to me in front of a lot of people and grabbed me by the shoulder. He was mad about something. He doesn’t ride well and knows nothing about guns, so maybe he thought I represented a threat. I was in my element. He wasn’t. When you work in a scene with Yul, you’re supposed to stand perfectly still, 10 feet away. Well, I don’t wBrynner even hired an assistant with the sole job of monitoring McQueen’s misdemeanours and counting how many times he fidgeted during scenes, playing his hat, belt or gun. The antics increasingly infuriated the rest of the cast, leading to considerable friction on set. Decades later, dying of cancer, McQueen called to apologise. Brynner forgave him but Charles Bronson never did.
That said, Brynner’s own notorious behaviour never changed. In his early days of stardom, he insisted a special lift was installed at the Broadway theatre where The King and I was playing. Not just for him, but big enough for his white limousine – so he could drive in and out without being bothered by fans.
In 1965, he starred with Marlon Brando in the World War II ocean-bound action thriller Morituri and managed to eclipse his co-star by demanding a landing pad be built onboard the ship where they were filming, so his private helicopter could fly him back at the end of each day while his castmates were left, literally, all at sea..
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Donald Sutherland : I was lying on my back on the bed when Jane came out of the bathroom

Donald Sutherland still remembers an intimate moment they shared fifty years ago . He said she “seduced” him but he was left “eviscerated” when their passionate two-year affair suddenly ended.

While filming Klute in 1970, Sutherland fell in love with fellow star and activist Jane Fonda, even though both were married at the time. In the 1960s and 70s he was at the heart of Hollywood activism, alongside an on-screen career that included provocative and seminal films like Don’t Look Now and The Invasion of The Body Snatchers. They were matched body, mind and soul. For the next two years, they were together at the forefront of Hollywood support for the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War. The pair were just as passionate in private and Sutherland still dwells (often in no holds barred detail) on their intimate moments together.

Klute started filming in 1970. Fonda had been together with husband Roger Vadim, who directed her in 1968’s Barbarella, since 1963. When rumours started spreading in 1970 that they had separated, her official spokesman quickly denied it.

However, Sutherland later described how it was his beautiful co-star who made all the moves on him: “We’d already been cast but had not started shooting, and one day, she made it very clear, via a somewhat provocative suggestion, that I should come home with her. And I just said… Ok.’”
It would mark the end of the actor’s own second marriage to Shirley Douglas, which had produced twins Kiefer and Rachel
Kiefer revealed in 2014 that they had never discussed the affair but he imagined his father would say: “‘I fell in love.’ I understand that. People do. And when they’re falling in love, they believe in everything so strongly and passionately, this kind of heightened experience, that it’s very hard to judge somebody for it.”
His father frequently and famously has talked about the love and the lust, famously declaring: “She had, at the time, the most beautiful breasts in the world.”
Apparently, he followed that description with an anecdote so explicit it was not suitable for print. He did, however, wax lyrical in another interview about a naked moment that still has the power to stop his breath decades later.
Sutherland told GQ: “I was with Jane Fonda at the /Chelsea Hotel in 1970, maybe ’71. It was a room with a big bed and, to the right, four or five stairs to a landing that led to the bathroom. There was a little oval window on the landing and there was a street light shining through that window though it seemed more like moonlight, so maybe it was the moon, I like to think it was the moon.
“I was lying on my back on the bed when Jane came out of the bathroom. She, too, was naked, and when the moonlight caught her perfect breasts I stopped breathing. Everything stopped. And then it started again. Now, when I see it in my memory, I stop breathing again.”
It’s easy to believe. The actress has maintained her extraordinary figure through the decades, although this year she finally allowed her natural grey hair to shine.
The affair was passionate and intense, although Fonda has been less vividly ‘descriptive’ over the years.
She said in her autobiography that he had, “Something of the old-world gentleman about him.” The actress added that she found his “rangy, hangdog quality and droopy, pale blue eyes especially appealing.”
Alongside both their successful Hollywood careers, the pair performed together at benefits for soldiers who opposed the Vietnam War and found themselves on CIA watchlists.
Although they seemed perfectly matched, the affair would suddenly burn out as abruptly as it started – leaving Sutherland devastated.
He said: “We got together shortly before we made Klute and then we were together until the relationship exploded and fell apart in Tokyo. And it broke my heart.
“I was eviscerated. I was so sad. It was a wonderful relationship right up to the point we lived together.”
However, in 1972, Sutherland married French Canadian actress Francine Racette, after meeting her on the set of the Canadian pioneer drama Alien Thunder. It remains one of the longest and most stable marriages in Hollywood, and has produced three sons – Rossif Sutherland, Angus Redford Sutherland, and Roeg Sutherland.
After three high profile marriages to Roger Vadim, activist Tom Hayden and media tycoon Ted Turner, Fonda dated music producer Richard Perry until 2017 and has said she is now happily single.
The actress has also battled cancer three times. Last week she announced that, after undergoing multiple rounds of chemotherapy to treat Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, her cancer is now in remission.
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Mr. Arness was terribly shy and had almost no training as an actor a wartime leg wound made it painful for him to mount a horse

James Arness, who burnished the legend of America’s epic West as Marshal Matt Dillon, the laconic peacemaker of Dodge City on “Gunsmoke,”

. Mr. Arness was terribly shy and had almost no training as an actor. A wartime leg wound made it painful for him to mount a horse. But he became the best-known tin star of his era, portraying the towering, weathered marshal for 20 years, from 1955 to 1975. He also made some 50 films and television movies, mostly westerns, in a career that stretched across five decades.

To a generation of television viewers, Mr. Arness and “Gunsmoke” embodied a new, more adult vision of the mythic Old West: a quiet, vulnerable lawman facing not stereotyped villains and clichéd situations but a chaotic frontier freighted with moral judgments and occasional failure. He might be too late to stop a killing. He could save a girl from kidnappers, but not from her father’s brutality.

Audiences had long been accustomed to western heroes who never were, having been sanitized by the trail songs of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers and the righteous gunplay of the Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy . But Marshal Dillon never got the girl, did not love his horse, wore only one gun and fired it reluctantly, usually drawing last but shooting straightest in dusty street duels. Over the years, the marshal was shot 30 times.
Mr. Arness, a 6-foot-7 giant whose stoic personality was remarkably like his character’s, was ideal for the part. He had been reared in a family of Norwegian descent in Minnesota and became an outdoorsman who loved fishing and hunting. He came home from World War II a wounded, decorated and aimless veteran. He worked menial jobs, tried radio and was collecting veterans’ benefits when he drifted to Hollywood.
He developed slowly, appearing in 30 movies before his mentor, John Wayne, rejected the Dillon role and recommended him instead. “Gunsmoke,” which began in 1952 as a radio show with William Conrad, landed on the CBS television network as a half-hour black-and-white drama set in a raw Kansas town in 1873.
In the premiere, which established the tone for the series, Marshal Dillon faces a gunslinger who had killed an unarmed man. The outlaw insists on a showdown, and the marshal, always a moral touchstone, must accommodate him.
“He’s a gunman, Doc,” Dillon says to Doc Adams. “He has got to be eliminated.”
The supporting cast was a snug family, stock but multilayered characters who spent much time talking: the beer-drinking philosopher, Doc (Milburn Stone); the careworn Long Branch saloonkeeper, Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake), her love unrequited; and the lame sidekick, Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver). Characters and actors came and went in tales that often focused on travelers passing through on their way west.
Gunsmoke” was not an instant success. But from 1957 to 1961, when it became a one-hour series, it was the top-rated show on television, seen every week by 40 million Americans and millions more in Britain, where it was called “Gun Law.” It bred dozens of copycats, including “Have Gun, Will Travel,” “Wagon Train,” “Rawhide,” “The Rifleman” and “Bonanza.”
The ratings declined until 1967, when color and a new time slot sent “Gunsmoke” back into the Top 10 until the 1973-74 season. The show was still in the Top 30 when it was canceled in 1975. In its 20-year run, there had been 635 episodes. Mr. Arness had been in the saddle for all of them, and would ride again through decades of reruns and sequels.
He was born James King Aurness in Minneapolis on May 26, 1923, one of two sons of Rolf Aurness, who sold medical supplies, and the former Ruth Duesler. (His parents divorced in the 1940s.)
Mr. Arness’s younger brother was the actor Peter Graves, who starred for years on television in “Mission: Impossible” and appeared in scores of movies, including “Airplane!” (1980) . He died in March 2010.
James attended public schools and graduated from West High School in Minneapolis in 1942.
In his first year at Beloit College in Wisconsin, Mr. Arness was drafted into the wartime Army as an infantryman. During the invasion of Anzio, Italy, in 1944, his right leg was shattered by machine-gun fire. Hospitalized for nearly a year, he underwent a series of operations but for many years suffered pain, especially when mounting a horse, and walked with a slight limp. He won the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
After the war he returned to Minnesota, took odd jobs and was a radio announcer before moving to Los Angeles in 1946. He began acting at an amateur theater and met the producer Dore Schary, who put him in a few movies in 1947. Unsure of his future, he drifted around Mexico, but returned to Hollywood determined to be an actor called James Arness.
In 1948 he married Virginia Chapman and adopted her son by a previous marriage, Craig. The couple had two children, Jenny and Rolf, and were divorced in 1963. In 1978 he married Janet Surtees; they lived in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. She and Rolf Arness survive him, along with a stepson, Jim Surtees. Survivors also include six grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Jenny Arness died in 1975, and Craig in 2004.
Critics praised Mr. Arness’s performance as an unjustly accused man in “The People Against O’Hara” (1951), and he was memorable if unrecognizable in the title role of the science-fiction thriller “The Thing From Another World,” better known as just “The Thing” (1951). In the next few years he was in dozens of films, including “Big Jim McLain” (1952) and “Hondo” (1953), which both starred John Wayne.
Wayne was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars then, and a television role did not seem the right move for him. But Mr. Arness, his protégé, turned out to be a masterly casting choice. Its 20-year tenure made “Gunsmoke” the longest-running scripted prime-time show in American television history, a record that stood until it was broken by “The Simpsons” in 2009. (“Law & Order” reached the 20-year mark in 2010, but was canceled before it could overtake “Gunsmoke.” No other show currently on the air comes close.) Besides reruns, it spun off books, board games, a trove of merchandise and endless nostalgia.
Mr. Arness was nominated for three Emmy Awards in the “Gunsmoke” years and later made dozens of television movies, including “The Alamo” (1987) and “Red River” (1988). He also starred in the mini-series “How the West Was Won” (1977) and the short-lived crime series “McCain’s Law” (1981). From 1987 to 1993 he also made five “Gunsmoke” television-movie sequels. “James Arness: An Autobiography,” written with James E. Wise Jr., was published in 2001.
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