In May of 1998, Venice Magazine sent me to San Juan, Puerto Rico to do an on-set piece about Stephen Hopkins’ “Under Suspicion,” starring Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman. Having never met either iconic actor, I had not just butterflies, but flocks of seagulls roiling in my innards. Gene Hackman was then a veteran performer, two-time Oscar winner, and a spry 68 years of age. 26 years later, Mr. Hackman, now retired in Santa Fe and still active as a published novelist and painter, celebrates his 94th year around the sun today, January 30. Many happy returns and thank you for contributing to a remarkable five days in a tyro journalist’s life, detailed below.

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