Even as a 16-year-old child actor in the United States, Gene Hackman had problems with direction. He chose to enlist in the United States Marine Corps since he had no notion what he wanted to accomplish with his life. He knew at that point that he would have a tough time operating under any form of authority for the rest of his life.
In the beginning, he was stationed in Shanghai, China, where he worked as a radio operator, and he finally made his way to Hawaii. Throughout his military career, he was demoted three times owing to his failure to simply follow instructions on a constant basis. “I wasn’t a very good marine,” he acknowledges.