Gene Hackman is of Pennsylvania Dutch (German), English, and Scottish ancestry; his mother was born in Lambton, Ontario.
Hackman was born on January 30, 1930, in San Bernardino, California, the son of Eugene Ezra Hackman and Anna Lyda Elizabeth (née Gray). He has one brother, Richard. Hackman's father operated the printing press for the Commercial-News, a local paper. His parents divorced in 1943 and his father subsequently left the family. His mother died in 1962 as a result of a fire she accidentally set while smoking. After Gene’s maternal grandmother Beatrice Gray completed the responsibility of raising the two Hackman boys.