A bit part in Mad Dog Coll (1961) was followed three years later with a speaking role in Lilith. That film's star, Warren Beatty, remembered Hackman and cast him as Buck Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), resulting in his first Oscar nomination. He won the Best Actor trophy as brutal cop Popeye Doyle (a character he despised) in The French Connection (1971).
A frequent co-star with Beatty and Clint Eastwood, Hackman won his second Oscar as sheriff Little Bill in Unforgiven (1992). The Conversation, Superman and Mississippi Burning are other key Hackman films. His later appearances include 2003's Runaway Jury (with one-time roommate Dustin Hoffman).