Screen legend Gene Hackman has come out of hiding. The 94-year-old French Connection star hadn’t been photographed in nearly five years but was recently spotted out and about in his adopted hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico, twice in a matter of days.

A surprisingly spry Hackman was first snapped with musician wife Betsy Arakawa at a restaurant. He was carrying a cane, but eyewitnesses say he seemed alert and happy.

“He looked a little grizzled, but in good shape,” says one source.

Before that, he and his 62-year-old wife had not been photographed together since the 2003 Golden Globe Awards.

Less than two weeks after the restaurant sighting, Hackman stopped at a 7-Eleven for coffee and pie, this time without the cane. The two-time Oscar winner turned his back on Hollywood in 2004 after filming Welcome to Mooseport with Ray Romano.

“I really don’t want to do it any longer,” he said.

He turned to writing, churning out historical novels. Although Hackman has three adult children, Betsy, who shares his $750,000 ranch, is set to inherit his $80 million fortune. Says an insider, “They have retreated to a happy life together.”