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The Տһootıѕt: John Wayne rides off into the sunset in a blaze of glory

The Տһootıѕt (1976), Directed by Don Siegel from Glendon Swarthout’s eponymous 1975 novel, is John Wayne’s final film in which he co-stars with Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard and James Stewart. The film has John Wayne playing a legendary ɡսոfıɡһtеr who’s dying of cancer.

“I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same of them.”

John ‘Duke’ Wayne and Clint Eastwood may have never done a film together (they should have, that would’ve been the ultimate Western), but Clint’s favorite director and frequent collaborator Don Siegel (most famous for the first ‘Dirty Harry‘) did get to work with the great Duke, and that too in the latter’s final film, which also is one of Duke’s best films (characters & performances). Very few Hollywood stars can claim to have had as illustrious a career as Duke: his career stretching for almost half a century; starting with silent films and ending in the New-Hollywood era; from Black & White to color; and for most part of it, he remained not just a number one box office star, but also a symbol of the American nation. And few legendary movie stars get to end their career with such a good film like “The Տһootıѕt”: a film that somehow becomes the summation of Duke’s career as well as a summation of the genre of ‘Western’ that he is most closely identified with. The film, set in 1901, Carson City, tells the story of a legendary ɡսոfıɡһtеr John Bernard ‘J.B.’ Books who is forced to live out his last days under the shadow of cancer. Not wanting to go through a long, painful and ignominious ԁеаtһ, the legendary Տһootıѕt instigates a ɡսոfıɡһt in town, so that he gets to go out in a blaze of glory. At the end of the film Books dies, but not before taking down all his opponents in the last great ɡսոfıɡһt of his life. The fact that this was Duke’s last cinematic role, and he would die three years later from stomach cancer would turn this into one of the most poignant and great ‘meta’ movies of all time. This, mixed with the turn of the Nineteenth-century setting of the film – when the old-West had pretty much disappeared and the old-West heroes had all but become extinct – makes it a poignant farewell to the ‘Western’ genre itself. It’s rarely one come across a film that marks the end of a career, and an entire era in cinema. Apart from John Huston’s “The Misfits (1961)”- again an end-of-the-west Western which was the final film of both Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe – I really cant think of another film that sums up so much film history.


“The Տһootıѕt” opens with a montage that establishes the legendary career of ɡսոfıɡһtеr J.B. Books; and for this purpose, various clips from previous John Wayne movies, like Red River (1948), Hondo (1954), Rio Bravo (1959), and El Dorado (1967), are used to show a young Books in action. Of course, this framing device has the added benefit of asserting the legend of John Wayne too. Now the film cuts to Books as an older man, Books arrives in Carson City, Nevada, in late January 1901. Almost immediately he gets into a potentially dangerous confrontation with local dairy creamer Jay Cobb, but his teenaged assistant Gillom Rogers (Ron Howard) defuses the situation by scoffing that Books looks worn out. Books goes to Dr. E. W. “Doc” Hostetler (James Stewart), a country physician who knows Books from treating his ɡսոshot wounds 15 years before. Books came to seek out Hostetler for a second opinion. Hostetler confirms that Books has terminal cancer and has only weeks to live. Books is prescribed laudanum, but told that eventually the pain will become unbearable. Hostetler obliquely suggests that Books consider suicide; Books is too stunned to react. Following the doctor’s advice, Books seeks accommodations at a boarding house owned by widow Bond Rogers (Lauren Bacall), who is also Gillom’s mother. When Books orders the boy to take his horse to a livery, Gillom balks at the ɡսոfıɡһtеr’s tone, but complies when Books asks politely. Unloading his weapons, Books falsely introduces himself to Bond as the legendary Wild Bill Hickok, but the widow dislikes the man and expresses her hope that he leaves the boarding house soon. Meanwhile, the livery proprietor, Moses, and Gillom discover Books’ true identity, which is written underneath the ɡսոfıɡһtеr’s saddle. Gillom reports back to his mother, who confronts Books about his misrepresentation and demands that he leave. When Books refuses, Bond telephones Marshall Thibido, and the lawman orders Books to comply. Books confides to Thibido (Harry Morgan) that he is dying, and the Marshall is happy to hear of the ɡսոfıɡһtеr’s fate; however, Thibido promises to keep the illness a secret under the condition that Books die soon.

But despite Books secrecy, word soon spreads that Books is in town, causing him trouble from those seeking to profit off his name, or to κıււ him. Among those attempting to exploit him is reporter Dan Dobkins (Rick Lenz). Serepta (Sheree North), an old flame of Books’, shows up; she eventually admits that Dobkins approached her about writing a biography of Books’ life, one filled with fabricated, exaggerated details of his ɡսոfıɡһts. Books later orders a headstone, but rejects the undertaker, Beckum’s(John Carradine) offer of a free funeral, suspecting he would charge the public admission to view his remains. Two strangers seeking notoriety try to ambush Books as he sleeps, but he κıււѕ them. Gillom is impressed, but his mother is losing boarders over the incident, and is angry, and also frightened for Books. She also grows concerned that the fatherless Gillom will try to follow in his footsteps. Books and Gillom have a dispute over Gillom procuring a buyer, the Carson City blacksmith, Moses (Scatman Crothers), for Books’ horse without his permission; later, Books himself sells his horse to Moses for a handsome price. Gillom and Books reconciles, and Books teaches Gillom to Տһoot. Gillom shows that he has a natural talent for it. In town, Books is confronted by Sweeney, who’s looking to avenge the ԁеаtһ of his brother who was κıււеԁ by Books- who insists that he only ѕһoots people in self-defense. Books asks Gillom to convey a message to his adversaries: Sweeney, Jack Pulford (the Faro dealer at the local Metropole Saloon, known to be a ԁеаԁւy ᴄrаᴄκ ѕһot), and Gillom’s boss Jay Cobb, inviting them to meet him at the saloon at 11 a.m., Monday morning. Later, Gillom tells Books that the men have accepted the invitation, and Books announces that he bought back his horse as a gift for the boy. On the morning of 29 January 1901, Books places his money and gold watch in an envelope addressed to Bond. His headstone is delivered with a date of birth, 29 January 1843, but the ԁеаtһ date remains unmarked. After consoling a tearful Bond, Books leaves the boarding house and enters the Saloon, where he finds his trigger-happy adversaries waiting there for him. In the end, Books gets what he wished for: to go out with his dignity intact and his ɡսոs blazing.


Don Siegel usually make lean, masculine, unsentimental action films, but this is an unabashedly sentimental film which is driven mainly by scenes of great tenderness rather than scenes of action, violence or tough-guy talk- that’s a hallmark of Siegel. This is a very melancholic film that mourns the passing of an era; we can see that imprinted in every aspect of the film; especially in Elmer Bernstein’s music: the ‘Western’ music maestro who usually supplies rousing scores for his films provides a moving, subdued score here; and in the casting of James Stewart, Lauren Bacall (whose husband, the great Humphrey Bogart had also died of cancer), Richard Boone and John Carradine- all of whom had been old collaborators of Duke. Stewart and Duke were lifelong friends, and they had acted together before on “The Man who shot Liberty Valance,” which was made approximately 15 years ago. The Wayne/Stewart relationship was handled touchingly and with great subtlety; Stewart, by then had retired from acting and was quite deaf, but agreed to return to the screen on his friend Duke’s request. Since Stewart couldn’t hear properly, he was not able to catch Duke’s cues, and their scenes together took a lot of time to ѕһoot- much to director Siegel’s exasperation. But the film would not be what it is if Stewart was not present; especially the final scene: where Stewart’s Doctor comes to the saloon to observe the carnage and say goodbye to his departed friend is really moving.

Lauren Bacall and Duke were politically opposites, but they had worked well together in the 50s, in a film called “Blood Alley,” and Duke wanted her for this role. Bacall gives one of her best performances in this film, and her widow character’s platonic friendship with the dying ɡսոfıɡһtеr gives the film its sensitive core. Their relationship begins on an adversarial note, and then slowly each comes to understand the other. She hates everything that he represents, but she’s also the only one who fully understands the tragic nature of his life and legend; that’s why she’s adamant not to let her son follow in his footsteps; and at the end she’s the only one left to cry for him. Bacall, who never had an exactly artistically rich phase post her feisty ‘Hawksian Woman’ phase in the 1940s, finally gets a role that channels her feistiness appropriate to her age; and long after Humphrey Bogart, she once again gets to play opposite a very powerful masculine male figure and movie icon. The same goes for John Wayne too: after his most successful and popular pairing with Maureen O’Hara, and having avoided tangling with female co-stars for a long period of time, as he considered himself to be too old to be a romantic hero anymore, he finally gets to play against an equally strong and fiery star\actress. Bacall was at Bogart’s side all along, when the latter slowly succumbed to cancer, and i guess, she brought those real life experiences to this performance. Richard Boone, who was another lifelong friend of Duke’s, and has acted with him in many films (Including Duke’s directorial venture “The Alamo“), gets to play one of the antagonists- the only one who has a previous history with Duke’s Books. John Carradine too make his presence felt as ‘the undertaker.’ Also, the horse owned (and given away) by J.B. Books in the film is Duke’s favorite horse named Dollor that Duke had ridden in many of his Westerns.

Then there is the performance of Duke himself; it’s truly one of his greatest performances; maybe even his best performance since “The Searchers.” After playing (or parodying) the ‘John Wayne persona’ in almost all of his late-career films\Westerns, he finally gets to play a solid, well-defined character. It’s true that every aspect of this film is informed by Duke’s iconography, and the film would never have the gravitas it has if anybody else was starring in the film, but ultimately he’s playing a character; and in that regard it’s truly unique John Wayne film. At the beginning of the film we are still witnessing that iconic persona, when after numerous clips of his great Westerns, J.B. Books is introduced as he proudly announces his credo- that’s quoted at the beginning of this piece; that’s a typical John Wayne punchline, and it’s soon followed by a trademark John Wayne intro action scene where he ѕһoots, disarms and kicks away a low time hood who tries to steal from him. But after Jimmy Stewart’s doctor informs him about his impending ԁеаtһ, Duke’s body language undergoes a remarkable transformation. He’s shocked beyond words, they are no glib comebacks or anything; because he’s a ɡսոfıɡһtеr great enough to handle anything that’s thrown at him with a ɡսո, but he doesn’t know how to fight cancer.

From then on there’s no swagger in his walk, he walks with a measured gait, as a man slowly walking towards his ԁеаtһ. We see him suffering through pain as he gulps down bottles of laudanum. We see him fill up with self-loathing when someone whom he loved tries to use his ԁеаtһ to make money. We see him trying desperately to bond with the widow Rogers; even going so far as to almost beg her not to throw him out. By the time of his last film, Duke has grown into such a larger-than-life figure that it’s truly a miracle that he manages to somehow wind the clock back and transport himself into such a modest\diminished state on screen; as if this is a film he’s doing in his pre-Icon phase. It’s a testament to what a great screen performer he is, and not just an Icon or a personality, that he can still do it. The Icon had taken over the actor for so much of the time in his career that it’s almost revelatory when the actor emerges out of the Iconic shell. Of course, Some of that ‘John Wayne’ swagger comes back in the climax: when he takes a horse-pulled trolley on his way to the final ɡսոfıɡһt, and when he walks into the saloon to confront his adversaries- a very happy, confident and contended man. But that’s again in keeping with the character; because now Books knows exactly what to do, he’s walking into a ɡսոfıɡһt, and there is no one better at it than him. He’s also going out to seek ԁеаtһ and glory; but still, however prepared he (and the audiences are) when it finally happens it’s still a shock- for him and for us. And Ron Howard is a stand in for all of us viewers; his shocked & dazed state after seeing his hero treacherously ɡսnned down replicates our emotional state on seeing our indestructible movie star icon being ɡսոned down; his final throwing away of the ɡսո – a gesture approved by Duke’s Books himself- is a gesture aimed at us audiences- not to follow in the footsteps, or replicate the violent actions of our favorite (screen) hero(es). It’s a great ‘meta’ moment that sums up a great ‘meta’ movie.

It’s very easy to say that Duke knew that he was dying, and this was going to be his last movie; and hence the film and the performance works so well. But that’s not the case, because he was not diagnosed with cancer until 1979. Duke had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 1964, and underwent surgical removal of his left lung and several ribs. He continued to work at an amazing pace- churning out an average of two films a year- even after he had licked the ‘Big C.’ Though he has been battling repeated respiratory illnesses from 1974, which led to him being hospitalized during the “The ѕһootist” ѕһoot for two weeks, he remained clinically cancer-free until early 1979, when metastases were discovered in his stomach, intestines, and spine. Duke was actually planning another film called “Beau John”, once again to costar Ron Howard, when the discovery of cancer was made. So it’s clear that he never intended this to be his last film. Also, the role of J. B. Books was offered to actors Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood. However, they reportedly declined because the main character was dying of prostate cancer. Only then Duke was cast in the film. Duke ensured that the script was changed to suit his image: he does not swear and he does not ѕһoot anybody in the back. When Don Siegel told Duke that his favorite star, Clint Eastwood has no objections to ѕһooting his screen rivals in the back, an enraged Duke fired back that ‘He’s not like that new kid.’ Duke did not have a happy working relationship with director Don Siegel, whom he felt was wrong for the film. Duke wanted an epic treatment of the material, while Siegel stuck to his lean, minimalist style. I too wish that the film had more grandeur and more natural splendor; sometimes the film does look too much like a ‘T.V. movie.’ But what the scaled-down look and feel of the film does is to draw our gaze more towards the characters and the actors. It make the film more intense and intimate. Eventually, it did turn out to be Duke’s perfect swansong.

Duke died of stomach cancer on June 11, 1979, at the UCLA Medical Center. He was buried in the Pacific View Memorial Park Cemetery in Corona del Mar, Newport Beach. Before his ԁеаtһ, Duke wanted a simple epitaph carved on his headstone, “Feo, Fuerte y Formal“. Translated it means “He was Ugly, Strong, and had Dignity“. Sadly, his wishes were never carried out. Duke’s grave remained unmarked for 20 years. Finally, in 1999 Duke’s burial site was given a headstone. The headstone is a bronze plaque featuring an image of Duke astride a horse, near ‘the Alamo’. The inscription on it reads: Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learnt something from yesterday.


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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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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