Gene Hackman: Marine still ready for combat at 82

At 82 years old, Gene Hackman looks like he could rip your arms from the sockets if you put a hand on his beautiful wife. This week he proved it by roughing up a belligerent homeless guy who made the mistake of picking on a Marine. Kudos, Mr. Hackman. Kudos.

Gene Hackman is 82 years old. He also happens to be a Marine. Not a lot of people know that — including the crazy homeless dude who threatened the actor and his wife shortly before getting rightfully slapped around.

Gene Hackman proved he can act tough in real life as well as on screen on Tuesday, slapping a homeless man who threatened his wife.

The 82-year-old Oscar-winning actor was with his wife Betsy Arakawa in downtown Santa Fe, N.M. around 1:30p.m. on Tuesday afternoon when a homeless man approached them menacingly, according to police.

The man, identified by the Santa Fe New Mexican as 63-year-old Bruce Becker, approached the couple as they were leaving a restaurant and called Hackman’s wife a “c–t.” …

[The homeless man, Bruce Becker] has a history of guilty pleas for charges including aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and abandonment or abuse of a child in 2008, as well as battery on a peace officer in 2009. … He also pleaded guilty to arson back in 1980.

As someone who was once assaulted by a crazy, drug-addled and shirtless homeless man outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles (I was fortunate enough to have the LAPD right there when it happened), Hackman gets three cheers from me. While most homeless people in the United States have some sort of psychological problem that prevents them from getting their life in order — and we should be sympathetic to their plight — that doesn’t mean that self-defense should ever be off the table when dealing with them. It brings a smile to my face to know that the old saying is true: “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

Look at Hackman at 82. Look at his shoulders! The guy could probably dead lift a duffel bag filled with bricks and not break a sweat. Like Sylvester Stallone (a young one at 65), it’s always inspiring to see Hollywood’s leading men stay manly well into the years when society says our quality of life should be in decline. We’re all going to die, but these guys prove that we can lead a life filled with vigor much longer than conventional wisdom would have us believe.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some push-ups and pull-ups to knock out.