Philip Seymour Hoffman
(47 years, if he had not died)
23 July 1967
Fairport, New York, USA
5' 9½" (1.77 m)
Film and stage actor and theater director Philip Seymour Hoffman was born in the Rochester, New York, suburb of Fairport on July 23, 1967. He was the son of Marilyn (Loucks), a lawyer and judge, and Gordon Stowell Hoffman, a Xerox employee, and was mostly of German, Irish, English and Dutch ancestry.
After becoming involved in high school theatrics, he attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, graduating with a B.F.A. degree in Drama in 1989. He made his feature film debut in the indie production Triple Bogey on a Par Five Hole (1991) as Phil Hoffman, and his first role in a major release came the next year in My New Gun (1992). While he had supporting roles in some other major productions, his breakthrough role came in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights (1997). He quickly became an icon of indie cinema, establishing a reputation as one of the screen's finest actors, in a variety of supporting and second leads in indie and major features, including Todd Solondz's Happiness (1998), Nadie es perfecto(1999), El talento de Mr. Ripley (1999), Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia (1999), Casi famosos (2000) and State and Main (2000). He also appeared in supporting roles in such mainstream, big-budget features as El dragón rojo (2002), Cold Mountain (2003) and Mission: Impossible III (2006). Hoffman was also quite active on the stage. On Broadway, he has earned two Tony nominations, as Best Actor (Play) in 2000 for a revival of Sam Shepard's "True West" and as Best Actor (Featured Role - Play) in 2003 for a revival of Eugene O'Neill (I)'s "Long Day's Journey into Night". His other acting credits in the New York theater include "The Seagull" (directed by Mike Nichols for The New York Shakespeare Festival), "Defying Gravity", "The Merchant of Venice" (directed by Peter Sellars), "Shopping and F*@%ing" and "The Author's Voice" (Drama Desk nomination). He is the Co-Artistic Director of the LAByrinth Theater Company in New York, for which he directed "Our Lady of 121st Street" by Stephen Adly Guirgis. He also has directed "In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings" and "Jesus Hopped the A Train" by Guirgis for LAByrinth, and "The Glory of Living" by Rebecca Gilman at the Manhattan Class Company. Hoffman consolidated his reputation as one of the finest actors under the age of 40 with his turn in the title role of Truman Capote (2005), for which he won the Los Angeles Film Critics Award as Best Actor. In 2006, he was awarded the Best Actor Oscar for the same role. On February 2, 2014, Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in an apartment in Greenwich village, New York. Investigators found Hoffman with a syringe in his arm and two open envelopes of heroin next to him. Mr. Hoffman was long known to struggle with addiction. In 2006, he said in an interview with "60 Minutes" that he had given up drugs and alcohol many years earlier, when he was age 22. In 2013, he checked into a rehabilitation program for about 10 days after a reliance on prescription pills resulted in his briefly turning again to heroin. - IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood
His characters often ran through a wide range of emotions
His sluggish, almost listless way of talking
TriviaHad twice been nominated for Broadway's Tony Award: as Best Actor (Play) in 2000 for a revival of Sam Shepard's "True West"; and as Best Actor (Featured Role - Play) in 2003 for a revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night".
Had the flu the entire time he appeared in Casi famosos (2000).
With the exception of Pozos de ambición (2007), he appeared in all of Paul Thomas Anderson's films.
Younger brother of Gordy Hoffman.
Taught an advanced "Directing the Actor" class for one semester at Columbia University School of the Arts Graduate Film Division during 2003.
Received his Bachelor's degree in Drama from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts (1989).
Had appeared in four films with Julianne Moore: Boogie Nights (1997), El gran Lebowski(1998) Magnolia (1999) and Los juegos del hambre: Sinsajo - Parte 1 (2014). They each then went on to appear in separate film in the Hannibal Lecter series. Moore played Clarice Starling in Hannibal (2001), and Hoffman played Freddie Lounds in El dragón rojo(2002).
In his sophomore year of high school, he suffered an injury that prevented him from playing multiple sports.
In 2002, he appeared in La última noche (2002), opposite Edward Norton and Brian Cox; and in Embriagado de amor (2002), opposite Emily Watson. That same year, he appeared with both Norton and Watson in El dragón rojo (2002), which was a remake of Hunter(1986), in which Cox had appeared.
Grew up in upstate New York, outside of Rochester, in the village of Fairport.
When asked who his acting idols were, he named Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Newman, Meryl Streep and Christopher Walken.
Did not drink alcohol. He became sober when he was 22 years old and said that he quit because, "I was 22 and I was panicked for my life.".
Had appeared in El talento de Mr. Ripley (1999) and El dragón rojo (2002). Both are remakes of earlier films (A pleno sol (1960) and Hunter (1986)), and both feature him as a character named Freddie who is killed by the villain/title character.
While working as a lifeguard, he once met musician Miles Davis. Davis appeared in an episode of the television series La historia del crimen (1986), and shared a scene with Stephen Lang. Lang appeared in Hunter (1986) as Freddy Lounds, the character Hoffman played in El dragón rojo (2002).
His performance as Truman Capote in Truman Capote (2005) is ranked #35 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
His mother, Marilyn Hoffman Connor, is a judge in Rochester, New York.
After winning his Oscar for Truman Capote (2005), he had been working with a filmmaker from his former high school in Fairport, New York, helping him with his project.
Uno de los nuestros (1990) is one of his favorite films.
He won 23 awards for his performance in Truman Capote (2005), including the coveted Oscar.
His parents divorced when he was 9.
Had a younger sister named Emily Hoffman and an older sister named Jill Hoffman.
Parents were Gordon S. Hoffman and Marilyn Hoffman Connor.
Met his girlfriend Mimi (a costumer designer) in 1999 while they were working on the play "In Arabia We'd All Be Kings".
Auditioned for the role of Cubby Barnes in Rescate (1996), which went to Donnie Wahlberg.
Ley y orden: The Violence of Summer (1991), in which he appeared, also featured another actor named Philip Hoffman.
As of 2008, he and Dustin Hoffman are the only two winners of a Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar to share a last name. Philip won for Truman Capote (2005) and Dustin won for Kramer contra Kramer (1979) and Rain Man (1988).
At New York University, he was a founding member of the notoriously short-lived and volatile theater company the Bullstoi Ensemble with actor Steven Schub and director Bennett Miller.
College roommates at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with actor 'Steven Schub' (lead singer of ska band The Fenwicks) and Jimmie Corrieri (guitarist of The Fenwicks).
Upon accepting his Oscar for Truman Capote (2005), Hoffman asked everyone to congratulate his mother, because "She brought up four kids alone, and she deserves a congratulations for that.".
Beat Heath Ledger for an Academy Award for Best Actor in 2005 for his title role in Truman Capote (2005), and then lost to the late actor for the Best Supporting Actor in 2008 to Ledger's performance in El caballero oscuro (2008).
Was one of 11 actors to have won the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Critics' Choice Award, Golden Globe Award and SAG Award for the same performance. The others in chronological order are Geoffrey Rush for Shine (1996), Jamie Foxx for Ray (2004), Forest Whitaker El último rey de Escocia (2006), Javier Bardem for No es país para viejos(2007), Daniel Day-Lewis for Pozos de ambición (2007), Heath Ledger for El caballero oscuro (2008), Christoph Waltz for Malditos bastardos (2009), Colin Firth for El discurso del rey (2010), Christopher Plummer for Beginners (2010), Daniel Day-Lewis again for Lincoln (2012) and J.K. Simmons for Whiplash (2014).
Was a huge fan of the New York Jets.
Since earning his first nomination in 2005, the longest he had gone without an Oscar nomination was 4 years, between La duda (2008) and The master (2012).
Was a huge fan of the crime drama series Breaking Bad (2008).
Was one of 8 actors who have received an Oscar nomination for their performance as a priest. The others, in chronological order, are: Spencer Tracy for San Francisco (1936) and Forja de hombres (1938); Charles Bickford for La canción de Bernadette (1943); Bing Crosby for Siguiendo mi camino (1944) and Las campanas de Santa María (1945); Barry Fitzgerald for Siguiendo mi camino (1944); Gregory Peck for Las llaves del reino (1944); Karl Malden for La ley del silencio (1954); and Jason Miller for El exorcista (1973). Tracy, Crosby and Fitzgerald all won Oscars for their performances.
Had Dutch, English, German, Irish, and remote Polish, ancestry. His paternal great-grandfather, Orville Hoffman, was the son of German immigrants, Johann Adam Hoffman and Barbara Kleinhans.
Became a father for the 1st time at age 35 when his girlfriend Mimi O'Donnell gave birth to their son Cooper Alexander Hoffman in March 2003.
Became a father for the 2nd time at age 39 when his girlfriend Mimi O'Donnell gave birth to their daughter Tallulah Hoffman in November 2006.
Became a father for the 3rd time at age 41 when his girlfriend Mimi O'Donnell gave birth to their daughter Willa Hoffman on October 17, 2008.
Attended the 56th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany. [February 2006]
Attended the 2008 Cannes Film Festival in France. [May 2008]
Attended the Cannes 2002 Film Festival in France. [May 2002]
Attended the premiere of Radio encubierta (2009) in Amsterdam, Netherlands. [April 2009]
In May 2013, Hoffman announced that he checked into substance abuse treatment center because he had started snorting heroin.
Hoffman was found dead, reportedly from a drug overdose, in his Manhattan apartment on February 2, 2014, exactly one day after the death (from pneumonia) of another Best Actor Oscar winner, 83-year-old Maximilian Schell (for Vencedores o vencidos (1961)).
Along with Vanessa Redgrave (for Julia (1977)), Kate Winslet (for Iris (2000)), Mare Winningham (for Georgia de Ulu Grosbard (1995)), Terence Stamp (for La fragata infernal(1962)), Roland Young (for Una pareja invisible (1937)) and Claude Rains (for El señor Skeffington (1944)), he is one of the few performers to be nominated for a Supporting Oscar for playing the title role in a movie (for The master (2012)). As of 2013, Redgrave is the only one to win.
His three Oscar nominations in the Best Supporting Actor category came from films in which he appeared along Amy Adams: La guerra de Charlie Wilson (2007), La duda(2008) and The master (2012). Adams was nominated for the two latter films.
Split from longtime companion Mimi O'Donnell in 2013.
Was found dead on the bathroom floor, dressed in a T-shirt and shorts with a hypodermic needle still stuck in his arm and 70 baggies of heroin inside his Greenwich Village apartment.
As of 2014, has appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Esencia de mujer (1992), Truman Capote (2005) and Moneyball: Rompiendo las reglas(2011).
His funeral was held in the Church of St Ignatius Loyola in New York.
Personal QuotesA lot of people describe me as chubby, which seems so easy, so first-choice. Or stocky. Fair-skinned. Tow-headed. There are so many other choices. How about dense? I mean, I'm a thick kind of guy. But I'm never described in attractive ways. I'm waiting for somebody to say I'm at least cute. But nobody has.
"Being unemployed is not good for any actor, no matter how successful you are. You always remember what it feels like to go to the unemployment office, what it feels like to be fired from all those restaurants".
"Not only couldn't I get a job as an actor, I couldn't hold down the temporary non- acting jobs I managed to get. I got fired as a waiter in restaurants and as a lifeguard at a spa" --On his life before films "If I hadn't gotten into Esencia de mujer (1992), I wouldn't be where I am today. It's been a domino effect ever since".
Actors are responsible to the people we play. I don't label or judge. I just play them as honestly and expressively and creatively as I can, in the hope that people who ordinarily turn their heads in disgust instead think, 'What I thought I'd feel about that guy, I don't totally feel right now' ". -- On his responsibility as an actor.
To have that concentration to act well is like lugging things up staircases in your brain. I think that's a thing people don't understand. It is that exhausting. If you're doing it well, if you're concentrating the way you need to, if your will and your concentration and emotional and imagination and emotional life are all in tune, concentrated and working together in that role, that is just like lugging weights upstairs with your head..And I don't think that should get any easier". -- On acting.
"Other people disagree with me, but Scent of a Woman really was my breakthrough. I was working in the prepared foods section of a deli when I was cast in that movie, and I've never had a non-acting job since. That's amazing".
Success isn't what makes you happy. It really isn't. Success is doing what makes you happy and doing good work and hopefully having a fruitful life. If I've felt like I've done good work, that makes me happy. The success part of it is all gravy.
Sometimes I'm working on a film and someone will ask me if I'm having fun. And I'm tempted to tell them the truth: No, absolutely not. Having no fun here at all. You know what's going to be fun? When it's done, and I've done a fuckin' good job, and I know people are getting something out of that. I'll have a lot of fun then. A ton of it.
I'm probably more personal when I'm acting than at any other time. More open, more direct. Because it allows me to be something that I can't always feel comfortable with when I'm living my own life, you know? Because it's make- believe.
Acting is so difficult for me that, unless the work is of a certain stature in my mind, unless I reach the expectations I have of myself, I'm unhappy. Then it's a miserable existence. I'm putting a piece of myself out there. If it doesn't do anything, I feel so ashamed. I'm afraid I'll be the kind of actor who thought he would make a difference and didn't. Right now, though, I feel like I made a little bit of difference.
Doing a play is good for me because it's a nice change from being on a movie set. I try to do a play every year because it just invigorates me.
I think Magnolia (1999) is one of the best films I've ever seen and I can say that straight and out and anybody that disagrees with me I'll fight you to the death. I just think it is one of the greatest films I've ever been in and ever seen.
"It was an incredibly honest, unique, specific and personal story of addiction. He lives to feed the beast and it gets him farther away from reality, intimacy and life.To me, it's not even about gambling. It's about a man and how he behaves in this pressurized world he has created for himself. There is no relief for this guy. It's about a man who cuts off his feelings at the same time his girlfriend [Minnie Driver] comes at him harder. Life comes at him harder, too, but he can only think about his addiction." - On his role in Owning Mahowny.
It's not by going into 'the business,'. The business can't be a thought. You get a foothold because you want to get a foothold as an artist. Your desire, your intensity, has to be about being a great actor or a great painter or a great musician. If that's strong enough, it'll lead you to good teachers and to places where you'll learn. For me, the business wasn't a thought. I was doing a play, and a friend in the play said, 'My manager is here tonight and she wants to meet you.' And I said, 'Oh.' And that's how I got a manager.
[on getting his part in El gran Lebowski (1998)] It's the Coen brothers, and you never think you're going to get to work with people like that. I thought I'd never get the part. So I wanted to do something very weird. I went in and started ranting and raving and they were laughing their asses off. I was petrified but, I figured, at least they laughed a lot.
My favorite thing about acting is being alone and going through the scripts and working on it and getting ideas and asking myself questions, looking outside myself for them and researching and getting to the bottom of something and being creative with it as an actor and how to express it in a creative fashion. That's my favorite part. And,the actual acting of it.
On my down time I do a lot of nothing. I just kinda read, run and hang out with friends because I haven't had a lot of it lately. I just try to do a lot of nothing. Go to some sports. I like to play tennis. I travel a lot with my work now so if you are travelling all the time you don't want to travel you want to stay home. And when you stay home you really don't want to do too much because you've been going out and getting up early and staying out late all the time. So you just do very little.
[on El talento de Mr. Ripley (1999)] Playing Freddie Miles was really easy. It was one of those parts you know exactly what you're doing. The character is not beating around the bush at all. His main action is to expose Tom Ripley as a phoney.
Sometimes it's hard to say no. Ultimately, if you stick to your guns, you have the career that you want. Don't get me wrong. I love a good payday and I'll do films for fun. But ultimately my main goal is to do good work. If it doesn't pay well, so be it.
[his advice to aspiring actors] Study, find all the good teachers and study with them, get involved in acting to act, not to be famous or for the money. Do plays. It's not worth it if you are just in it for the money. You have to love it.
The stage can be more satisfying because you spend a lot of time rehearsing, and film is more technical. In the end it just depends on the work and the director. I do like the world of the theater though.
Film is a very uncomfortable medium for an actor. It's just not conducive to doing what actors do. The first few days of shooting are like you just getting over the fact that your there. These people and the camera over the shoulder and the light and the boom - you're just going crazy trying to find some kind of center of relaxation and then you can get into a rhythm and it can be very satisfying. If you do good work and it's on film, that's a very satisfying thing. - 2006.
Actors are responsible to the people we play.
My passion to develop as an actor didn't have anything to do with people knowing me. I had no idea that would happen. To become famous, to become a celebrity is something that I thought happened to other people.
[on Truman Capote (2005)] I knew that it would be great, but I still took the role kicking and screaming. Playing Capote took a lot of concentration. I prepared for four and a half months. I read and listened to his voice and watched videos of him on TV. Sometimes being an actor is like being some kind of detective where you're on the search for a secret that will unlock the character. With Capote, the part required me to be a little unbalanced, and that wasn't really good for my mental health. It was also a technically difficult part. Because I was holding my body in a way it doesn't want to be held and because I was speaking in a voice that my vocal cords did not want to do, I had to stay in character all day. Otherwise, I would give my body the chance to bail on me.
[on The master (2012)] L. Ron Hubbard is the reference, but it isn't L. Ron Hubbard. There are things he does that are referenced in Hubbard's life, but ultimately there is no adherence to that fact. We took liberties because he is a fictional character.
[on quitting drinking at age 22] I think I would have drank myself to death, literally, if I didn't just stop, once and for all when I did. I am not ever going to preach to anyone about drugs or drinking. But, for me, when they were around, I had no self control.
[on going to rehab] I went, I got sober when I was 22 years old. You get panicked and I got panicked for my life.
I teach acting sometimes - not a lot, but once in a while - and what I really try to say to them - 'cause I know it's true - is that if you're doing a play or you're shooting a film, the way you feel after a performance that night, or after a day of work, if you've done well, is the best it gets. You don't need anyone to tell you. I always say it's like when you can go home and fall asleep and wake up well-rested. That's as good as it gets, because everything else is fleeting. It's what keeps you going back to work.
[on being taken to a production of 'All My Sons' at age twelve] It's a great play, and at the end of the play the father goes off-stage and kills himself. It's a very sappy, corny memory but I remember thinking I had found something that no one knew about. I could just not get over the fact that these people in front of me were getting me to believe something that was not happening. I matured in those two hours, just experiencing that.