Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Philip Seymour Hoffman

Hoffman at the Paris premiere of The Ides of March in October 2011
Born July 23, 1967
Fairport, New York, U.S.
Died February 2, 2014(2014-02-02) (aged 46)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor, producer, director
Years active 1991–2014
Partner(s) Mimi O'Donnell
(1999–2014; his death)
Children 3
Relatives Gordy Hoffman (brother)

Philip Seymour Hoffman (July 23, 1967 – February 2, 2014) was an American actor and director. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 2005 biographical film Capote, was nominated three times for Best Supporting Actor and also received three Tony Award nominations for his work in theater.

Hoffman began his acting career in 1991, and the following year he began to appear in films. He gained recognition for his supporting work in a series of notable films, including Scent of a Woman (1992), Twister (1996), Boogie Nights (1997), The Big Lebowski (1998), Patch Adams (1998), Magnolia (1999), The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Almost Famous (2000), Red Dragon (2002), 25th Hour (2002), Punch-Drunk Love (2002) and Cold Mountain (2003).

In 2005, Hoffman played the title role in Capote, for which he won multiple acting awards. His three other Academy Award nominations came for his supporting work in Charlie Wilson's War (2007), Doubt (2008) and The Master (2012). Other critically acclaimed films in his later years included Owning Mahowny (2003), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007), The Savages (2007), Synecdoche, New York (2008), Moneyball (2011) and The Ides of March (2011). In 2010, Hoffman made his feature film directorial debut with Jack Goes Boating.

Hoffman was an accomplished theater actor and director. He joined the LAByrinth Theater Company in 1995, and directed and performed in numerous stage productions. His performances in three Broadway plays led to three Tony Award nominations: two for Best Leading Actor, in True West (2000) and Death of a Salesman (2012), and one for Best Featured Actor in Long Day's Journey into Night (2003). In their front-page obituary following his sudden death at age 46, The New York Times referred to Hoffman as "perhaps the most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation."[1]

Early life

Hoffman was born in Fairport, New York, a suburb of Rochester.[2][3] His mother, Marilyn O'Connor (née Loucks), a native of nearby Waterloo, is a family court judge and lawyer. His father, Gordon Stowell Hoffman, is a former Xerox executive.[4][5] He had two sisters, Jill and Emily, and a brother, Gordy, who wrote the screenplay for Love Liza (2002), in which Hoffman starred. His ancestry included Irish, German, English, and Dutch.[6][7] His father was Protestant and his mother Catholic; Hoffman was not raised with a deep commitment to any denomination.[6][8][9] His parents divorced in 1976.[9]

Hoffman began acting while a student at Fairport High School, after a neck injury forced him to give up wrestling.[3] At the age of 17, he was selected to attend the 1984 Theater School at the New York State Summer School of the Arts in Saratoga Springs, meeting future collaborators Bennett Miller and Dan Futterman there.[3] After graduating from Fairport High School, Hoffman attended the Circle in the Square Theatre's summer program, continuing his acting training with Alan Langdon. Hoffman earned a BFA in drama in 1989 from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. At NYU, he was, along with actor Steven Schub and director Bennett Miller, a founding member of the Bullstoi Ensemble theater company.[8]


Film and television

Hoffman in 2002 promoting Punch-Drunk Love

Hoffman's first acting role was as a defendant in a rape case in the Law & Order episode "The Violence of Summer" (1991). He made his film breakthrough in 1992, when he appeared in four feature films, with the most successful being Scent of a Woman, in which he played an unscrupulous, spoiled classmate of Chris O'Donnell's character.[10]

Hoffman established a successful and respected film career playing diverse and idiosyncratic characters in supporting roles, working with a wide variety of directors, including Todd Solondz, the Coen Brothers, Spike Lee, Cameron Crowe, David Mamet, Robert Benton, Anthony Minghella and Paul Thomas Anderson; notably, he appeared in five of Anderson's first six films (Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love and The Master). He appeared in The Party's Over, a documentary about the 2000 U.S. elections. Throughout his career he rarely was given a chance to play the lead role. In 2002, however, Hoffman starred as a widower coping with his wife's suicide in Love Liza, for which his brother, Gordy Hoffman, wrote the screenplay. In 2003, he played the lead role in Owning Mahowny as a bank employee who embezzles money to feed his gambling addiction.

Hoffman continued to play supporting roles in such films as Cold Mountain, as a carnally obsessed preacher, Along Came Polly, as Ben Stiller's crude, has-been actor buddy Sandy Lyle, and Mission: Impossible III, as villainous arms dealer Owen Davian.

Hoffman received his first Primetime Emmy Award nomination for the HBO miniseries Empire Falls, but lost to cast-mate and personal idol Paul Newman. One of Hoffman's earliest roles was as a police deputy who gets punched in the face by Newman in 1994's Nobody's Fool. He received a second Emmy Award nomination for the Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer In An Animated Program in his vocal work on Arthur.

In 2005, Hoffman received widespread acclaim for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in the film Capote. His performance received numerous accolades and awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. In addition, he was awarded Best Actor by at least ten film critic associations, including the National Board of Review, Toronto Film Critics and Los Angeles Film Critics.

In 2007, Hoffman was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for playing Gust Avrakotos, a CIA officer who helps Congressman Charlie Wilson support a covert war in Afghanistan in the movie Charlie Wilson's War. In 2008, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the same role. The same year he appeared in Synecdoche, New York, in which he played Caden Cotard, a man who attempts to build a scale replica of New York inside a warehouse for a play, and Doubt, in which he played Father Brendan Flynn, a priest accused of sexually abusing a student. He received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for the latter. He received a second consecutive nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Doubt.

In 2012, Hoffman starred in Paul Thomas Anderson's drama The Master, in which he portrayed the charismatic leader of a nascent Scientology-type movement in post-war America. For this role, he was once again nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 2013, he portrayed Plutarch Heavensbee in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games.[11]

Hoffman in September 2010

At the time of his death, Hoffman was filming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, the final The Hunger Games movie, and had already completed the majority of his scenes.[12] In addition, he was also gearing up for his second directional effort, Ezekiel Moss,[13] and had filmed a pilot for a series for called Happyish, which Showtime had picked up for a full season two weeks before his death.[14]

Theater work

Hoffman also received acclaim for his work in the theater. He joined the LAByrinth Theater Company in 1995, and staged and performed in numerous productions. As a director, Hoffman received two Drama Desk Award nominations for Outstanding Director of a Play: one for Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train in 2001; another for Our Lady of 121st Street in 2003. Of the difference between acting and directing in a play, Hoffman has said that "the director’s experience is not the real experience...You are the most subjective person in the room. You have no objectivity. You have to take a couple of weeks off and then come back to watch it without telling anyone, and you will see it with different eyes."[15]

Hoffman first gained recognition as a theater actor in 2000 for the Off-Broadway play The Author's Voice, receiving a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play. On Broadway, Hoffman starred in the 2000 revival of True West and the 2003 revival of Long Day's Journey into Night, both leading to Tony Award nominations.[16]

In 2012, Hoffman starred as Willy Loman in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, prompting The New York Times theater critic, Ben Brantley, to conclude that, "Mr. Hoffman is one of the finest actors of his generation [...] beyond dispute."[17] He received his third Tony Award nomination, for Best Leading Actor in a Play.

Personal life

Hoffman was in a relationship with costume designer Mimi O'Donnell for the last 15 years of his life.[3] They met while working on the 1999 play In Arabia We'd All Be Kings, which he directed. They had a son, born in 2003, and two daughters, born in 2006[18][19] and 2008.[20][19]

Hoffman stood 5 ft 10 in tall.[21] The New York Times described Hoffman as "a stocky, often sleepy-looking man with blond, generally uncombed hair who favored the rumpled clothes more associated with an out-of-work actor than a star."[1] Hoffman "frequently dyed his hair and lost or gained weight for parts" and "was known for a sometimes painful dedication to his craft."[3]

In a 2006 interview, Hoffman revealed he had suffered from drug and alcohol abuse and that after graduating from college at age 22, he went to rehab for drug and alcohol addiction. He said he had abused "anything I could get my hands on. I liked it all."[22] Hoffman relapsed more than 20 years later with heroin and addiction to prescription medications and checked himself into a drug rehab for about ten days in May 2013.[1][23]


On February 2, 2014, Hoffman was found dead by a friend, the playwright and screenwriter David Bar Katz, in the bathroom of Hoffman's West Village, Manhattan office apartment.[24][25] As of February 4, 2014, the medical examiner's office has not stated an official cause of death.[26] Investigators searching his apartment found a quantity of heroin and prescription drugs.[27][28]

Hoffman's funeral was held at St. Ignatius Loyola church, Manhattan, on February 7, 2014.[29]

Filmography, television, and theater


Year Title Role Notes
1991 Triple Bogey on a Par Five Hole Klutch
1992 Szuler Martin
1992 My New Gun Chris
1992 Leap of Faith Matt
1992 Scent of a Woman George Willis, Jr. Credited as Philip S. Hoffman
1993 Joey Breaker Wiley McCall
1993 My Boyfriend's Back Chuck Bronski
1993 Money for Nothing Cochran
1994 Getaway, TheThe Getaway Frank Hansen
1994 Yearling, TheThe Yearling Buck Television film
1994 When a Man Loves a Woman Gary
1994 Nobody's Fool Officer Raymer
1995 The Fifteen Minute Hamlet Bernardo, Horatio, Laertes
1996 Hard Eight Young Craps Player
1996 Twister Dustin "Dusty" Davis
1997 Boogie Nights Scotty J.
1997 Liberty! The American Revolution Joseph Plumb Martin
1998 Culture Bill
1998 Montana Duncan
1998 Next Stop Wonderland Sean
1998 Big Lebowski, TheThe Big Lebowski Brandt
1998 Happiness Allen
1998 Patch Adams Mitch Roman
1999 Flawless Rusty Zimmerman
1999 Magnolia Phil Parma
1999 Talented Mr. Ripley, TheThe Talented Mr. Ripley Freddie Miles
2000 Titanic 2000 Himself
2000 State and Main Joseph Turner White
2000 Almost Famous Lester Bangs
2001 The Party's Over Himself Also known as Last Party 2000
2002 Love Liza Wilson Joel
2002 Punch-Drunk Love Dean Trumbell
2002 Red Dragon Freddy Lounds
2002 25th Hour Jacob Elinsky
2003 Owning Mahowny Dan Mahowny
2003 Cold Mountain Reverend Veasey
2004 Along Came Polly Sandy Lyle
2005 Strangers with Candy Henry
2005 Capote Truman Capote
2006 Mission: Impossible III Owen Davian
2007 Before the Devil Knows You're Dead Andy Hanson
2007 Savages, TheThe Savages Jon Savage
2007 Charlie Wilson's War Gust Avrakotos
2008 Synecdoche, New York Caden Cotard
2008 Doubt Father Brendan Flynn
2009 Mary and Max Max Jerry Horowitz Voice only
2009 Boat That Rocked, TheThe Boat That Rocked The Count Also known as Pirate Radio[30]
2009 Invention of Lying, TheThe Invention of Lying Jim the Bartender
2010 Jack Goes Boating Jack Director, executive producer
2011 Moneyball Art Howe
2011 Ides of March, TheThe Ides of March Paul Zara
2012 The Master Lancaster Dodd
2012 A Late Quartet Robert Gelbart
2013 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Plutarch Heavensbee
2014 A Most Wanted Man Günther Bachmann
2014 God's Pocket Mickey Scarpato Producer
2014 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Plutarch Heavensbee
2015 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Plutarch Heavensbee


Year Title Role Notes
1991 Law & Order Steven Hanauer Episode: "The Violence of Summer"
Credited as Philip Hoffman
2005 Empire Falls Charlie Mayne Miniseries
2009 Arthur Will Toffman Episode: "No Acting Please"


Year Title Role Notes
1996 The Skriker RawHeadAndBloodyBones April 23 – May 26, 1996
1997–1998 Defying Gravity C.B. November 2, 1997 – January 4, 1998
1998 Shopping and Fucking Mark March 17 – April 11, 1998
1999 The Author's Voice & Imagining Brad May 11–29, 1999
2000 True West Lee/Austin Broadway; March 2 – Jul 29, 2000
2000 Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train Director; November 29 – December 31, 2000
2001 The Seagull Konstantin August 12–26, 2001
2001 The Glory of Living Director; October 30 – December 1, 2001
2003 Our Lady of 121st Street Director; March 6 – July 27, 2003
2003 Long Day's Journey into Night James Tyrone, Jr. Broadway; May 6 – August 1, 2003
2003 Dutch Heart of Man Artistic director; September 25 – October 19, 2003
2004 Guinea Pig Solo Artistic director; May 9 – June 6, 2004
2004 Sailor's Song Executive director; November 7–21, 2004
2005 The Last Days of Judas Iscariot Director and artistic director; March 2 – April 3, 2005
2006 School of the Americas Artistic director; July 6–23, 2006
2006 A Small, Melodramatic Story Artistic director; October 24 – November 5, 2006
2007 Jack Goes Boating Jack Artistic director; March 18 – April 29, 2007
2007 A View From 151st Street Artistic director; October 18 – November 4, 2007
2008 Unconditional Artistic director; February 18 – March 9, 2008
2008 The Little Flower of East Orange Director; April 6 – May 4, 2008
2009 Othello Iago September 27 – October 4, 2009
2010 The Long Red Road Director; February 13 – March 21, 2010
2012 Death of a Salesman Willy Loman Broadway; March 15 – June 2, 2012

Awards and nominations

Throughout his career Hoffman has been nominated and won many awards, including four Academy Award nominations (winning one), five Golden Globe Award nominations (winning one), five BAFTA Award nominations (winning one), and three Tony Award nominations.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Weber, Bruce; Goodman, J. David (February 2, 2014). "Philip Seymour Hoffman, Actor, Dies at 46". The New York Times. 
  2. Oldham, Stuart; Pat Saperstein (February 2, 2014). "Philip Seymour Hoffman Dead: Actor Dies in New York". Variety. Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 McArdle, Terence; Brown, DeNeen L. (February 2, 2014). "Philip Seymour Hoffman, Oscar-winning actor, found dead in NY apartment". The Washington Post. 
  4. "Philip Seymour Hoffman profile at". Retrieved August 14, 2010. 
  5. Shaw, David L. (March 7, 2006). "Oscar-Winner's Mother Was Born in Waterloo". Syracuse Post Standard. p. 78. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Whitty, Stephen (December 8, 2008). "The Talented Mr. Hoffman". The Star-Ledger. Newark, New Jersey. Retrieved January 4, 2009. 
  7. "Philip Seymour Hoffman family history". Celebs. 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Transcript: Inside the Actor's Studio, 2000". Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Philip Seymour Hoffman Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  10. "Philip Seymour Hoffman". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  11. Vary, Adam B. (July 9, 2012). "Philip Seymour Hoffman cast as Plutarch in 'Catching Fire'". CNN. Retrieved August 5, 2012. 
  12. Stewart, Andrew (February 2, 2014). "Philip Seymour Hoffman Was Nearly Finished Shooting 'Hunger Games'". Variety. 
  13. "Amy Adams & Jake Gyllenhaal Join Philip Seymour Hoffman-Directed 'Ezekiel Moss'". Indiewire. February 1, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  14. "Philip Seymour Hoffman's Showtime series 'Happyish' now in limbo after actor's death". Daily News (New York). Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  15. Stein, June (Spring 2008). "Philip Seymour Hoffman". Bomb. Retrieved August 1, 2011. 
  16. "Philip Seymour Hoffman Awards". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved May 25, 2012. 
  17. Brantley, Ben (March 15, 2012). "American Dreamer, Ambushed by the Territory". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  18. Hancock, Noelle (June 22, 2006). "Philip Seymour Hoffman and Girlfriend Expecting Second Child". Us Weekly. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved November 1, 2006. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Hirschberg, Lynn (December 19, 2008). "A Higher Calling". The New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2009. 
  20. "Philip Seymour Hoffman dead of suspected heroin overdose at 46: Body of Oscar-winning actor found with 'needle in his arm' at home". Daily Mail. February 2, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  21. Prokupecz, Shimon; Steve Almasy, Catherine E. Shoichet (February 2, 2014). "Sources: Philip Seymour Hoffman dead of apparent drug overdose". CNN. Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  22. "Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died of apparent drug overdose". MSN Movies. February 2, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  23. "Philip Seymour Hoffman Entered Detox for Narcotic Abuse". May 31, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  24. Shimon Prokupecz; Jethro Mullen; Jason Carroll (February 4, 2014). "Piecing together Philip Seymour Hoffman's final hours". CNN. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  25. Weber, Bruce (February 2, 2014). "Philip Seymour Hoffman, Actor of Depth, Dies at 46". The New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  26. Goodman, J. David; Emma G. Fitzsimmons (February 4, 2014). "Four People Arrested as Part of Inquiry Into Hoffman’s Death". The New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  27. Prokupecz, Shimon; Almasy, Steve; Shoichet, Catherine E. (February 3, 2014). "Sources: Nearly 50 envelopes of suspected heroin in Hoffman's apartment". CNN. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  28. Good, Dan; Fields, Liz; Katersky, Aaron (February 3, 2014). "Philip Seymour Hoffman Had 5 Empty And 65 Full Bags of Heroin". ABC News. Retrieved February 3, 2014. "Investigators found roughly 50 bags of heroin and used syringes in Philip Seymour Hoffman's West Village apartment, police told ABC News." 
  29. Francescani, Chris. "Family, actors mourn Philip Seymour Hoffman at private funeral". Reuters. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  30. "Pirate Radio (2009) Release info". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 

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