Who Is Faye Maltese? All About Gene Hackman’s First Wife

Fay Maltese, formerly married to the renowned Gene Hackman, is the ex-wife of the American retired actor, novelist, and former United States Marine. 

Gene Hackman, whose illustrious career has surpassed six decades, possesses several accolades, including two Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and two BAFTAs.

Quick Bio

NameFay Maltese 
GenderFemale
Famous asThe ex-wife of Gene Hackman
Date of BirthJanuary 1st, 1929
Place of BirthUnited States of America
DeathApril 26, 2017
Age (at the time of death)88 years old
Ex-husbandGene Hackman
ChildrenChristopher Allen HackmanElizabeth Jean HackmanLeslie Anne Hackman
NationalityAmerican
EthnicityMixed
ReligionChristian

Early Life and Background:

Faye Maltese was born Faye Philippa Maltese on January 1, 1929, in New York. She belongs to an Italian family, embracing American nationality. 

Limited information is available about her early years. Still, it is known that she worked as a chemical bank secretary in New York to support her family before stepping into the limelight through her marriage to Gene Hackman.

Love at First Sight and Marriage:

Faye’s life took a significant turn when she crossed paths with Gene Hackman, who was then a 25-year-old military man aspiring to become an actor. 

Love at First Sight and Marriage
PHOTO: PEOPLE

Their love story began at a Y.M.C.A. in New York in 1955, where Faye was working as a bank secretary at Rockefeller Center. The couple dated for a year before making their relationship official in a private wedding ceremony in 1956.

During their three-decade-long marriage, Faye and Gene became proud parents to three children: a son named Christopher Allen Hackman and two daughters, Leslie Anne Hackman and Elizabeth Jean Hackman.

Faye Maltese and Gene Hackman Children:

During their three-decade-long marriage, Faye and Gene became proud parents to three children: a son named Christopher Allen Hackman and two daughters, Leslie Anne Hackman and Elizabeth Jean Hackman.

Christopher Allen Hackman

Christopher is the first child of Gene Hackman and Faye Maltese. He was born in 1960.

In a candid interview with journalist Leta Powell Drake in February 1984, Gene Hackman discussed his film “Misunderstood.”

When asked by Drake if he still hugs his son in his 20s or shakes hands, Hackman responded, “No, we still hug to this day, and I thank God that we are able to do that.”

He emphasized the importance of being aware of a child’s need to be embraced by their father and stated that it was a real stretch for him in the film to be insensitive to that need of a child.

In an interview with GQ about parenthood, Gene Hackman admitted that he lost touch with giving advice to his son early on. He attributed this to his frequent absences due to filming on location, which made it difficult to provide the necessary support and guidance to his son.

In an interview with Empire magazine in 2020, Hackman discussed his journey to become a novelist and shared insights into his son’s early career aspirations.

He revealed that his son once considered becoming an actor, which prompted him to write a couple of monologues for his son. 

Elizabeth Jean Hackman

Elizabeth Jean Hackman was born in August 1962. She is the second child of Gene Hackman and Faye Maltese.

Despite Hackman’s private nature regarding his family, he once shared a story about a challenging period in his career during the ’70s and ’80s. 

He recounted having to borrow his daughter’s modest Toyota to attend Hollywood interviews. He parked it a couple of blocks away to avoid looking desperate. It was the time when he was taking almost any acting opportunity that came his way to make ends meet.

Not much is known about Elizabeth, but she and her younger sister, Leslie, were captured in photographs sitting on their father’s lap. He was sporting a Los Angeles Dodgers jersey during a celebrity baseball game.

Elizabeth accompanied her father to various events, including the December 1978 screening of “Superman,” at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. 

She was also photographed at the premiere of Hackman’s movie “The Chamber” in Beverly Hills, California, in October 1996.

Leslie Anne Hackman

Leslie Anne Hackman, born in October 1966, is the third child of Faye Maltese and Gene Hackman. Similar to her older siblings, Leslie’s life has been relatively private.

In a 1984 interview with journalist Bobbie Wygant, Hackman discussed his movie “Misunderstood” and was asked if the film touched him more as a father or as a son. 

He explained that the film resonated primarily in terms of his role as a father, addressing misunderstandings between parents and children. 

He shared that his youngest daughter had seen the film and was deeply affected by it. Hackman mentioned that Leslie recommended “Misunderstood” to her friends, indicating her appreciation for the film beyond her father’s involvement.

Over the years, Leslie has been photographed attending various events with her father, including movie premieres. She accompanied Hackman to the 41st Annual Golden Globe Awards in 1991.

They also attended the premieres of “The Godfather Part III” in December 1990 and “Class Action” in March 1991.

Struggles and Divorce After 30 Years:

Gene Hackman faced challenges in establishing his acting career during the early years of their marriage. Faye remained his steadfast supporter while Hackman pursued his passion and worked in a bank to provide for the family.

However, as Hackman’s career gained momentum, the demands of the profession strained their relationship. The actor’s intense focus on his career and extended periods of separation led to the dissolution of their marriage in 1986.

Gene Hackman’s Professional Journey:

Gene Hackman was an active supporter of the Democratic Party and took pride in being listed among Nixon’s Enemies. Despite his political affiliations, Hackman has expressed admiration for Republican President Ronald Reagan.

Gene Hackman’s Professional Journey
PHOTO: ABC NEWS

He is a devoted fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars and regularly attended games at the invitation of his old friend and then head coach, Jack Del Rio. Hackman is also an active bicyclist till this age.

Gene Hackman secured the Best Actor award for his compelling portrayal of Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle in the critically acclaimed thriller The French Connection. Additionally, he earned the Best Supporting Actor title for his role as “Little” Bill Daggett in Clint Eastwood’s Western film Unforgiven. 

Hackman’s other nominations for Best Supporting Actor include performances in Bonnie and Clyde and I Never Sang for My Father. At the same time, he received a second Best Actor nomination for Mississippi Burning.

Gene Hackman’s Current Life:

Gene Hackman retired from acting in 2004. After his first divorce, Gene found love again with his second wife, Betsy Arakawa. They got married in 1991. 

Gene Hackman's Current Life
PHOTO: PEOPLE

Despite a significant age gap, the couple has sustained their marriage. Hackman, now 94, leads a quiet life in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

What Happened to Faye Maltese?

Following the divorce, there is no record of Faye Maltese remarrying or being engaged to anyone. She chose to retreat from the public eye, maintaining a low profile until her passing on April 26, 2017, at the age of 88. The exact cause of her death is unknown.

Faye Maltese’s Obituary:

Faye Maltese passed away on April 26, 2017, at the age of 88, bringing a permanent close to her journey. Her departure left both her family and fans deeply saddened.

There are no reports of any illness or accidents leading to her demise, and it is presumed that Faye died due to natural causes. Her family has not addressed the circumstances surrounding her passing, maintaining a respectful silence on this matter.

Faye’s Net Worth:

Although Faye Maltese worked in a bank, no sources suggest her net worth.

On the other hand, her ex-husband Gene Hackman possesses a heavy net worth of $80 million, particularly because of his successful career as an actor and novelist.