Saturday, July 12, 2014
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Philip S. Hoffman, 2006 Oscar winner

Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead Sunday. He was 46.
Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead Sunday. He was 46.
Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead Sunday. He was 46. Gallery: Philip S. Hoffman, 2006 Oscar winner

NEW YORK - Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46, who won the Oscar for best actor in 2006 for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote and created a gallery of other vivid characters, many of them slovenly and somewhat dissipated, was found dead Sunday in his apartment with what officials said was a needle in his arm.

Two law enforcement officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the evidence, said the actor apparently died of a drug overdose. Glassine envelopes containing what were believed to be heroin were found with him, they said.

Mr. Hoffman made his career mostly as a character actor and was one of the most prolific in the business, plying his craft with a rumpled naturalism that also made him one of the most admired performers of his generation.

The stage-trained actor was nominated for Academy Awards four times: for Capote, The Master, Doubt, and Charlie Wilson's War. He also received three Tony nominations for his work on Broadway, which included an acclaimed turn as the weary and defeated Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.

Mr. Hoffman spoke candidly over the years about past struggles with drug addiction. After 23 years sober, the versatile actor reportedly checked himself into rehab for 10 days last after relapsing in 2012.

The law enforcement officials said Mr. Hoffman's body was discovered in a bathroom at his Greenwich Village apartment by a friend who made the 911 call and by his assistant.

Mr. Hoffman's family called the news "tragic and sudden." He is survived by his partner of 15 years, Mimi O'Donnell, and their three children.

"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil," the family said in a statement, "and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone."

In one of his earliest screen roles, in 1992, he played a spoiled prep school student in Scent of a Woman. One of his breakthroughs came as a gay member of a porno film crew in Boogie Nights, one of several movies directed by Paul Thomas Anderson that he would eventually appear in.

He often played comic, slightly off-kilter characters in movies like Along Came Polly, The Big Lebowski, and Almost Famous.

More recently, he was Plutarch Heavensbee in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and was reprising that role in the two-part sequel, which is in the works. In Moneyball, he played Art Howe, the grumpy manager of the Oakland Athletics.

Two films starring Mr. Hoffman premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival: God's Pocket and the espionage thriller A Most Wanted Man.

Just weeks ago, Showtime announced Mr. Hoffman would star in Happyish, a new comedy series.

 Born in 1967 in Fairport, N.Y., Mr. Hoffman was interested in acting from an early age. He studied theater as a teenager with the New York State Summer School of the Arts and the Circle in the Square Theatre. He then majored in drama at New York University, where he graduated in 1989. Soon afterward, he checked himself into a rehabilitation program for alcohol and drug addiction.

In his Oscar acceptance speech for Capote, he thanked his mother for raising him and his three siblings alone, and for taking him to his first play. Mr. Hoffman's parents divorced when he was 9.

On Broadway, in addition to starring as Willy Loman, he played Jamie in Long Day's Journey Into Night and both leads in True West. All three performances were Tony-nominated.

His 2012 performance in Death of a Salesman was praised as "heartbreaking" by AP theater critic Mark Kennedy.

"Hoffman is only 44, but he nevertheless sags in his brokenness like a man closer to retirement age, lugging about his sample cases filled with his self-denial and disillusionment," Kennedy wrote. "His fraying connection to reality is pronounced in this production, with Hoffman quick to anger and a hard edge emerging from his babbling."

 


This article contains information from

the Los Angeles Times.

Tom Hays and Jake Coyle Associated Press
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