Screen legend Gene Hackman has been living out his final days as a “sad and lonely” recluse in New Mexico, RadarOnline.com has learned.
The 93-year-old actor turned his back on Hollywood in 2004 to hole up at his ranch in Santa Fe, where he paints and writes novels.
Gene — a two-time Oscar winner for The French Connection and Unforgiven — was photographed on March 5 during a rare public outing when he stopped for Wendy’s takeout.
“Hungry Hackman chowed down on his chicken sandwich in the fast food franchise’s parking lot before pumping gas at a nearby station,” The New York Post reported.
According to insiders, the once-strapping star — who played supervillain Lex Luthor in 1978’s Superman — now relies on his second wife, 60-year-old Betsy Arakawa, to look after their household and walk their three dogs.
Betsy is set to inherit his $80 million estate, and in 2011 Gene also transferred the $750,000 ranch they share into her name.
In the past, sources have claimed Betsy has isolated Gene from his three kids — Christopher, 58, Elizabeth, 56, and Leslie, 52.
“The word is Betsy has him completely under her thumb,” an insider dished to RadarOnline.com.
Gene tied the knot with Betsy in 1991 and filed a trust giving her an equal share of his business interests.
His children said they “can’t comment” on their dad’s life. A source added: “He is spending the sunset of his life seeing no one other than his wife, Betsy.”
The former actor’s rep has said Gene is “happily retired,” engaged in his community and enjoys traveling with his wife.
He’s also been spotted knocking back a few at a sleepy bar/cafe in the quaint hamlet of Tesuque.
An insider said: “He goes to Tesuque Village Market from time to time to drink booze. It’s the only bar in Tesuque. It’s hard not to notice how old he looks.”