Philip Seymour Hoffman, who in the span of two decades became one of the most admired and acclaimed actors of his generation, died earlier today from an apparent drug overdose. He was 46.
The four-time Academy Award nominated actor, who won the Best Actor Oscar in 2006 for his work in the film “Capote,” was found in his Greenwich Village apartment today. Police reports state that he was found with a hypodermic needle in his arm and two small bags, containing a substance thought to be heroin, near his body.
Born in Fairport, New York on July 23, 1967, Hoffman became interested in acting as a young boy after attending a local theater performance of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons.” After many high school productions he attended New York University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drama.
He began his acting career in 1991 with an appearance during the first season of the long running television show “Law and Order.” The next year he appeared in two feature films: “Leap of Faith,” with Steve Martin, and the Oscar-winning “Scent of a Woman,” opposite Al Pacino and Chris O’Donnell. The next couple of years found him in supporting roles in films like “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “The Getaway” and “Nobody’s Fool.” In 1996 he began his long association with director Paul Thomas Anderson with an appearance in the film “Hard Eight.” Other notable Anderson-directed films include “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” “Punch Drunk Love” and “The Master.” He spent the next decade doing outstanding work in such diverse films as “The Big Lebowski,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “Almost Famous” and “Cold Mountain.” In 2005 he brilliantly portrayed author Truman Capote in the biographical drama “Capote.” For his performance he received his first Academy Award nomination and, in fact, he took home the Oscar for Best Actor. He later received Best Supporting Actor nominations for “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Doubt” and “The Master.”
Later films include “Mission Impossible 3,” “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” “The Ides of March,’ “Moneyball” and “Jack Goes Boating,” which he also directed. He recently appeared in “Catching Fire,” the second film in “The Hunger Games” series and had recently finished filming “Mockingjay – Part 1” and was currently filming “Part 2.”
On stage, he was a member of the LAByrinth Theater Company since 1995, where he directed and starred in several productions. On Broadway he earned three Tony Award nominations: for Best Actor in a Play for “True West,” Best Featured Actor for “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and again for Best Actor in “Death of a Salesman.” At age 44, he was the youngest actor ever to play Willy Loman since Lee J. Cobb originated the role in 1949. Other actors to take on the iconic role on Broadway include George C. Scott, Dustin Hoffman and Brian Dennehy. For “True West,” he and co-star John C. Reilly would alternate the lead roles and, in fact, lobbied to receive one Tony Nomination between them. Reilly was also nominated for his work in the play.
Hoffman dealt with his substance abuse issues after graduating from NYU and was 23 years sober when he relapsed in May 2013. He checked himself into a detox facility shortly afterwards. He leaves behind three children with long time partner Mimi O’Donnell; a son and two daughters.