Faye Maltese: Remembering Gene Hackman’s Ex-Wife

Faye Maltese became a figure of public interest through her marriage to Gene Hackman, an acclaimed American actor. She and Hackman tied the knot in 1956, during the early years of what would become an …

fay maltese
Real Name:Faye Maltese
Birthday:January 1, 1928 - April 26, 2017
Net Worth:N/A
Occupation:Ex-wife of Gene Hackman

Faye Maltese became a figure of public interest through her marriage to Gene Hackman, an acclaimed American actor. She and Hackman tied the knot in 1956, during the early years of what would become an illustrious acting career for Hackman.

Throughout her marriage to Hackman, she stayed largely out of the limelight, dedicating herself to their family life. The couple’s journey together saw the birth of three children, underpinning a stable family unit despite the pressures of Hollywood fame.

The personal life of Faye, often obscured by the stardom of her husband, was marked by her role as a supportive partner and mother. Their marriage endured for three decades until 1986 when they decided to go their separate ways through a divorce.

Despite the dissolution of their marriage, Faye’s impact on Hackman’s life, especially during the peak of his career, was significant, providing a grounding presence behind his public persona.

After many years together, the end of their marriage promoted a shift away from public view for Faye Maltese. She maintained a private life until her passing in April 2017, at the age of 88.

The quieter chapters of her life post-divorce, away from the dazzle of Hollywood, reflected her preference for privacy, a stark contrast to the public achievements of her former spouse.

Key Takeaways

  • Faye Maltese was mostly recognized through her marriage to actor Gene Hackman.
  • She played a significant role in supporting Hackman’s career while maintaining a private family life.
  • Her life was characterized by a preference for privacy, before and after her divorce from Hackman.

Gene Hackman’s Career and Achievements

Gene Hackman’s illustrious career in acting spans over six decades, during which he has received widespread acclaim for his performances in film, as well as recognition for his work as a novelist. His journey from Broadway to the Oscars has cemented him as one of Hollywood’s most admired talents.

Early Acting Ventures

Hackman’s entry into professional acting began with performances in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. His dedication to the craft opened up opportunities in film, where he made his indelible mark.

Distinguished by his intense and authentic portrayal of characters, Hackman established himself as a compelling actor to watch.

Rise to Stardom

The 1960s and 70s witnessed Hackman’s climb to stardom, with notable roles in films like “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The French Connection.” His portrayal of the unyielding Detective Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle in the latter not only thrilled audiences but also showcased Hackman’s dynamic range as an actor.

His role in “Superman” as the infamous villain Lex Luthor introduced him to a whole new generation of fans.

Notable Awards

Hackman’s exceptional talent has earned him numerous awards, including:

  • Academy Awards:
    • Best Actor for “The French Connection” (1972)
    • Best Supporting Actor for “Unforgiven” (1993)
  • Golden Globe Awards:
    • Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama for “The French Connection”
    • Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama for “Mississippi Burning” (1989)
    • Cecil B. DeMille Award for “Lifetime Achievement” (2003)
  • Other accolades include a Screen Actors Guild Award and two BAFTAs.

Shift to Writing

After decades of success in front of the camera, Hackman turned his talent to writing, becoming a novelist. His work in this arena further highlights his creative versatility and has introduced him to a whole new sphere of the creative arts.

His novel writing career became a new chapter after his role in the 2004 film “Welcome to Mooseport,” which is generally considered his last screen appearance before retiring from acting.

Personal Life and Relationships

Faye Maltese’s life was profoundly shaped by her family ties, her marriage to Gene Hackman, and the family they built together. Her personal story resonates with themes of love and partnership, as well as the complexities that come with it.

Family Background

Faye Maltese’s early life and family details remain quite private. Although she stepped into the limelight through her marriage, her own history is less documented, retaining an air of mystery.


Gene Hackman and Faye Maltese met at the Pasadena Playhouse in California, where Hackman was honing his acting skills. They bonded over a shared love for the arts and married in 1956. Their union lasted for three decades until they eventually separated, finalizing their divorce in 1986.

Life with Gene Hackman

During their marriage, Faye Maltese and Gene Hackman navigated the challenges of his burgeoning acting career together. Despite the demands of his profession, they maintained a life filled with love and mutual support.

Children and Fatherhood

The couple welcomed three children into their lives: Leslie Anne Hackman, Elizabeth Jean Hackman, and Christopher Allen Hackman. Gene Hackman embraced fatherhood with dedication, balancing his family responsibilities with his career.

Marriage to Betsy Arakawa

After his divorce from Faye, Gene Hackman found love again with Betsy Arakawa. They married and settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Hackman transitioned into retirement, having left a significant mark in Hollywood.

Later Years and Retirement

Gene Hackman’s retirement in Santa Fe has been a period of quiet reflection and enjoyment of his personal life. He has stepped away from the public eye, savoring the tranquility that Santa Fe offers.

Legacy and Net Worth

Faye Maltese’s legacy intertwines subtly with the film industry through her marriage to Gene Hackman, who has made an indelible mark in acting. Her financial narrative contrasts with Gene’s success, owing to his prolific career and substantial net worth.

Influence in Film Industry

While Faye Maltese was not directly involved in the film industry, her influence was felt through her support of Gene Hackman’s career, who won two Academy Awards for Best Actor for his role in “The French Connection” and Best Supporting Actor in “Unforgiven.”

Hackman’s retirement from acting allowed him to focus on other pursuits, such as writing, demonstrating the shift in dedication that often comes after a monumental career.

Financial Success

Faye Maltese’s financial details are not publicly disclosed, whereas Gene Hackman’s net worth is a result of his acting career, The Chamber, Illinois roots, and an array of significant roles that have marked him as a leading figure in Hollywood. His ability to transition from lead roles to supporting ones with ease contributed to his lasting success.

  • Net Worth: Gene Hackman’s net worth is estimated to be around $80 million.
  • Awards: Hackman has won two Academy Awards — one for Best Actor and another for Best Supporting Actor.

Gene Hackman’s Obituary

Although still a thriving novelist, Gene Hackman’s acting career is behind him.

However, Faye Maltese passed away on April 26, 2017, leaving behind the legacy of her former husband’s illustrious career.

As Gene moves forward, he carries the memory of Faye, who was once part and parcel of his personal story and journey in life.

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