RIP: The Talented Mr. Hoffman

2 Feb

Oscar winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has passed away at the age of 46, apparently from a drug overdose. His struggles with substance abuse have been well documented for some time.  I’ll include a link to a New York Post article at the end of this piece that includes all the alleged grisly details.  The Post, never known for subtlety, is what it is.

hoffman

RIP: Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014). L: Hoffman as writer Truman Capote in 2005’s Capote. R: Winning the 2005/06 Best Actor Oscar.

For years, Hoffman gave his all in a wide variety of supporting roles in such films as Scent of a Woman  and Leap of Faith (both 1992), Twister (1996), Boogie Nights (1997), The Big Lebowski (1998), Patch Adams (also 1998), and The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). He began his ascent to leading actor status in the likes of Flawless (1999), in which he played a transsexual opposite Robert DeNiro and earned a Screen Actors Guild nod. Indie efforts, such as Love Liza (2002) and Owning Mahowny (2003), followed with mixed success, but the real game changer was 2005’s Capote, a star vehicle conceived especially for Hoffman by his longtime pal actor-writer Dan Futterman and directed by another close associate, Bennett Miller.  This time everything clicked, and Hoffman, uncharacteristically urbane as the famously flamboyant and sharp-tongued author of In Cold Blood, became the early favorite in a tight race for the Oscar, a race that included Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain), Joaquin Phoenix (as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line), David Strathairn (as Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck), and Terrence Howard (Hustle and Flow).

After winning the Oscar, Hoffman worked as steadily as he ever had, only his most acclaimed performances were more often secondary than leading. For example, he earned Academy Best Supporting Actor nominations for Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), Doubt (2008), and The Master (2012). Regarding the latter, it was his fifth collaboration with writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson after Hard Eight (1996), the aforementioned Boogie Nights, Magnolia (1999),  and Punch Drunk Love (2002). Hoffman was featured in his friend Miller’s Oscar nominated Moneyball (2011) and was recently seen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. He had reportedly begun work on the next installment of The Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay.

Hoffman was in a long-term relationship with costumer Mimi O’Donnell; they have three children. The actor’s list of accolades also includes Tony nominations for revivals of True West, Long Day’s Journey into Night, and Death of a Salesman.

Hoffman always struck me as troubled, and I freely admit that his performances sometimes left me baffled.  I don’t feel compelled to elaborate on that at this particular time, however. His death is still a shocker, a tragedy. On the other hand, I was quite moved by his Oscar acceptance speech when he spoke about being one of four children raised by a single mom, and that’s how I would like to remember him. Oh, how I grieve for his mother now.  Rest in Peace, Mr. Hoffman.

Here is a link to his Oscar acceptance speech, via Business Insider. I dare you not to be moved: http://www.businessinsider.com/philip-seymor-hoffman-capote-oscar-speech-2014-2

Hoffman’s obituary in the New York Posthttp://nypost.com/2014/02/02/philip-seymour-hoffman-found-dead-in-his-apartment/

Hoffman at the Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000450/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Hoffman at the Internet Broadway Database: http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=70743

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4 Responses to “RIP: The Talented Mr. Hoffman”

  1. Viv 02 February 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    That is simply stunning. I’m just, speechless.

    • listen2uraunt 02 February 2014 at 4:39 pm #

      Viv,
      It’s such a sad day. I watched the clip of his Oscar speech, his disbelief in his own good fortune to be at the Oscars and to share it with his mother. My heart aches for her, his companion, and his children. Of course, I know how addiction can be so tragic, so destructive…once it takes hold, it ruins almost everything it touches, save for the very, very strong.

  2. Nelson, Kandy 02 February 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    Hi Melanie,

    Thanks for sending this; I had not heard about him passing; what a loss.

    Kandy

    • listen2uraunt 02 February 2014 at 4:36 pm #

      Thanks, Kandy. I found out via Facebook, and then I looked to verify it before writing a single word. The circumstances are so incredibly sad.

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