We’ve lost a giant. Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his apartment this morning, February 2nd, of a drug overdose. He was an exemplary actor, and proponent of theatre.
It’s true I never met Mr. Hoffman, but you don’t need to know a person directly for them to impact your life. His performances were filled with strong choices, energy, and fire– even if it was the occasional low simmer.
More to the point, what Mr. Hoffman represented was no less astonishing. By and large, Hollywood actors are thin and fit, if they wish to be taken seriously. Those whose waistlines exceed 38” are typically shoehorned into comedic and character roles, exaggerations to be spared a second thought. Hoffman refused to accept that.
Granted, some of his best performances were in supporting roles. The Big Lebowski, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Boogie Nights. But as his resumé grew, so did his parts, all the way to his Oscar-winning turn in Capote. An actor who did not fit the mold could still find success his own way. That was the message I got, as a kid.
This would be enough to make him a fan-favorite, but Mr. Hoffman was also a tireless supporter of live theatre. He produced a number of productions in New York. In a business fueled by notoriety, attaching his name to a show was enough to find it a ‘home’. He believed that those who’d found success were obligated to help out those climbing up after them. Whether or not he said that is immaterial, it was present in his actions.
His talent was profound, his voice was groaning oak, his presence was unmistakable. To the almighty, we commend Philip Seymour Hoffman. His life is in Your hands, dude. His life is in Your hands, dude.
Rest in Peace.