Popeye Doyle

Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle

Popeye Doyle is a fictional New York City police detective portrayed by actor Gene Hackman in the 1971 movie The French Connection. The character is actually based on a real life New York City detective named Eddie Egan. In the movie The French Connection, Popeye Doyle is a rough police detective who routinely breaks the rules in an effort to catch his opponent, which in the movie is a group of French drug smugglers. On an individual basis, Doyle has many negative qualities- he is alcoholic, bigoted, overzealous, and is sometimes disrespectful to his superior officers. Doyle however is a dedicated officer leading his precinct in drug arrests and is willing to do whatever it takes to lock up known drug dealers. Near the end of the movie, Popeye Doyle accidentally kills a fellow detective with whom he previously had an argument, and continues in his pursuit of his foe. The real life Eddie Egan also appeared in the film and Gene Hackman won an Academy Award for his performance.

In 1986, Doyle was the protagonist of an television pilot called "Popeye Doyle", played by Ed O'Neill. Although the series was never produced, the pilot was shown as a TV movie on NBC.

Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits founder Al Copeland named his fast-food chain after Popeye Doyle.

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