Celebrated actor, producer and director Philip Seymour Hoffman, known for his Oscar-winning performance in Capote and most recently as Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, has been found dead in his Manhattan apartment, according to WSJ. He was 46 years old.
The early reports, from sites such as the NY Post, suggest that Mr. Hoffman died of a possible heroin overdose, and was found in his bathroom with a syringe in his arm. Hoffman had battled addiction throughout his life and career, and sadly had checked himself into rehab in 2012 for ten days. He apparently relapsed again in May 2013. This is a sad end to a brilliant career of one of the most natural, magnetic actors of his generation.
This tragic news may complicate the filming of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, which was still filming at the time of his passing. The first part of The Hunger Games finale has completed principal photography.
His family has released the following statement (via Miles Doran of CBS):
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone. This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers.
“The family will not be making any further statements at this time.”
Philip Seymour Hoffman was born in Fairport, New York on July 23, 1967 to Gordon Stowell Hoffman, a former Xerox executive and Marilyn O’Connor, a family court judge and civil rights activist. His parents divorced when he was nine. Hoffman studied theater from a young age, attending the 1984 Theater School at the New York State Summer School of the Arts, and continuing theater studies with acting teacher Alan Langdon after graduating high school.
While at NYU, where he received a BFA in Drama, he founded the Bullstoi Ensemble theater company with actor Steven Schlub and Capote director Bennett Miller. He first appeared in a Law & Order episode in 1991, followed by a string of indie film roles. His big breakthrough came with his role in the 1992 film Scent of a Woman, where he turned heads as Chris O’Donnell’s shady roommate. This led to a batch of higher profile film roles, such as The Getaway with Alec Baldwin and Nobody’s Fool, which starred Paul Newman.
He appeared in a number of mainstream blockbusters, such as his role as the villain in Mission:Impossible III, and alternated those with tougher roles such as the suspicious priest in Doubt (for which he received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor), a duplicitous political adviser in George Clooney’s The Ides of March, and Oakland A’s manager Art Howe in Bennett Miller’s Moneyball. He also wrote and directed 2010’s Jack Goes Boating and will be remembered for so many other roles, from The Big Lebowski, Charlie Wilson’s War, and Pirate Radio to his epic turn in Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York.
In 1996, he appeared in Paul Thomas Anderson’s first film Hard Eight, and would go on to appear in nearly every film by Anderson. His supporting role as love-struck Scotty in Boogie Nights nearly stole the show from Mark Wahlberg’s Dirk Diggler; his sympathetic male nurse attending the dying Jason Robards in Magnolia was the kind heart of that movie; and he played the memorably blow-dried villain in Punch-Drunk Love.
His final role with Anderson, however, might be his most iconic. In 2012’s The Master, Hoffman delivered a precise, fascinating portrayal of Lancaster Dodd, the leader of a religious movement called “The Cause,” based loosely on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. As he attempts to help – or exploit? – the deeply troubled World War II veteran Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), Dodd is simultaneously attracted to and repelled by the untamed Freddie. But does Dodd really possess deeper wisdom or is he a complete charlatan? Hoffman’s quiet, knowing performance keeps you guessing.
Hoffman was never anything less than solid, and when he truly disappeared into a role – such as his Oscar-winning performance as Truman Capote – you understood that this was a truly brilliant actor at work. He never stopped working on the stage and earned Tony nominations for the 2000 revival of San Shepard’s “True West,” as well as a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey into Night.” He was also the Co-Artistic Director for the LAByrinth Theater Company in New York, directing “In Arabia, We’d All Be Kings,” “Jesus Hopped the A Train,” and “Our Lady of 121st Street.”
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s magnificent career should not be overshadowed by his problems with drugs and alcohol. He was a dedicated actor and is survived by his son Cooper Alexander and two daughters, Tallulah and Willa, born to Hoffman and costume designer Mimi O’Donnell, with whom he had a longstanding relationship.
We here at Screen Rant would like to express our deepest condolences to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s friends and family, and ask that his fans keep them in their prayers.
R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman, July 23, 1967 – February 2, 2014.
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