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When Gene Hackman stopped accepting new parts in the early-2000s, he was in his mid-70s and starting to feel the weight of a highly taxing career. But it took a doctor’s visit to show him just how much. “The straw that broke the camel’s back was actually a stress test that I took in New York,” Hackman told Empire in January 2020. “The doctor advised me that my heart wasn’t in the kind of shape that I should be putting it under any stress.” And acting is anything but an aging heart’s friend. 

The creative work that goes into bringing a character to life is amazing, Hackman detailed, but that’s just one part of the job. “You jump from that to a luncheon meeting with an agent and a producer on another film, or something that’s gone on on the film that you’re doing. It’s kind of a frying pan,” Hackman revealed. “It was jarring and at my age and with my health, I decided I didn’t want to do that any longer.”

Hackman doesn’t appear to regret his decision. Now in his 90s, his heart proves to be going strong, as his bicycling around Santa Fe shows, according to Bicycling.com. In 2018, he purchased an electronic bike to continue to enjoy the activity. “Some of the hills in the Santa Fe bike path network are getting to be a little too much for him,” a local bike shop owner said.

Source: Nicki Swift

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