The death has occurred of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Academy Award-winning star of such marvellous films as Magnolia, Boogie Nights, Capote and The Master. He was just 46.
Born in Fairport, New York in 1967, Hoffman graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a degree in Drama in 1989. He had bit parts in a number of films in the early 1990s, but the turning point came when he was cast by his Hard Eight director PT Anderson in the small but memorable role of the lovelorn Scotty J. in Boogie Nights. Bigger parts followed in The Big Lebowski, Happiness, The Talented Mr. Ripley and Anderson’s next film, Magnolia.
The next decade saw him take on another wide variety of roles, whether in the dramatic likes of Almost Famous or 25th Hour, or lighter fare like Along Came Polly or Punch-Drunk Love.
In 2005, he won won universal praise for his performance as Truman Capote in Capote. The performance won him many awards, including an Oscar for Best Actor.
He continued to keep his film choices eclectic, from the bombast of Mission: Impossible III to the intensity of Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead and Doubt, to the surrealistic genius of Synecdoche, New York.
More recently, he reteamed with P.T. Anderson on The Master, and played the crucial role of Plutarch Heavensbee in the Hunger Games franchise. A number of films starring Hoffman are due for release in the coming months, including the next two Hunger Games movies, and Anton Corbijn’s adaptation of John Le Carré’s novel A Most Wanted Man.
Hoffman also racked up an impressive stage career, starring in productions of Shakespeare, O’Neill and Chekov, amongst others. He was twice nominated for a Tony award.
In all his roles, Hoffman transcended his round stature and distinct, slurred speaking voice to convey vast swathes of emotional intensity. He boasted an emotional nakedness in his performances that made him the envy of most any actor that knew him.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is survived by his partner, costume designer Mimi O’Donnell, and their three young children. R.I.P.