Philip Seymour Hoffman: A Regular Guy

Seymour

It shouldn’t have ended this way, a superb actor found dead with a needle in his arm, empty bags of smack littered about in his downtown Manhattan apartment. He was only 46 years old. Behind he leaves his partner, Mimi O’Donnell, three small children, fellow actors and film lovers who soaked in and admired his talent with every nuance in his performance.

His family, friends and fellow talents will miss him as a human being, a father, a brilliant light and we will miss him for his performances that gave us joy, excitement and inspiration. We will feel cheated of the future works that could have been and  now will never be.

The ugliness of his demise though in no way diminishes the work he left behind in an array of films with performances both brilliant and natural. A prolific actor, Hoffman leaves a legacy of more than 50 films in less than 25 years. His career included movies such as “Almost Famous” where he played legendary rock music critic Lester Bangs and “Capote” where he seemingly possessed the soul of the late author and won an Academy Award for Best Actor.

He worked with some of the best directors including Sidney Lumet in the filmmaker’s final film, “Before the Devil Knows Your Dead,” with Mike Nichols in “Charlie Wilson’s War,” the Coen Brothers in their cult classic, “The Big Lebowski,” and twice with Paul Thomas Anderson in “Magnolia” and “The Master.” There were big budget films like “Mission Impossible III, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Moneyball” and small independent flicks like “Savages,” “Synecdoche, New York” and “A Late Quartet,” the last one directed by Dustin Hoffman.

Hoffman’s looks,demeanor, his stocky built, rumpled hair and sloppy clothes gave him the appearance of an everyday guy, one who lived next door, exemplified by his role in the 2010 film “Jack Goes Boating.” His everydayness was also expressed by his neighbors who stated you always would see him in the neighborhood, walking his kids, just like a regular guy.

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16 comments on “Philip Seymour Hoffman: A Regular Guy

  1. So sad. I have been a fan since the mid-1990s — there was always something so special about him.

    • John Greco says:

      Agree Karen, Whenever he was in a film you knew, if nothing else. you would get a good performance from him. He was an artist!

  2. Sam Juliano says:

    Ah, John what a major tragedy and loss to the film community and to those in his family and circle of friends. As you note he was one of the most talented thespians in the world, and we are all left with an extraordinary film legacy and the tantalizing theories about what could have been.

    A lovely tribute here John.

  3. cmba2014 says:

    Thanks for a thoughtful remembrance of a wonderful actor. Love his work – he had so much talent and such onscreen presence. I have a soft spot for his Lester Bangs in “Almost Famous,” and he seemed to be able to channel Truman Capote – but he stood out in every one of the many films of his I’ve seen. A terrible loss.

    • John Greco says:

      Eve, his CAPOTE performance was amazing and deservedly was rewarded with the accolades. He seemed to be able to disappear into each of his roles. I also like the way he balanced his career between big budget Hollywood popcorn flicks and small independent works.

  4. John, unless I’m mistaken, I’ve enjoyed Philip Seymour Hoffman’s work since SCENT OF A WOMAN, through his Oscar-winning perfomance in CAPOTE and so much more, and it both breaks my heart and infuriates me that with all his talent and a loving family, including young children, he let his demons destroy him. There are so many places where he could have gotten help for his addiction; why didn’t he? We can only hope that his needless death will encourage others not to throw it all away. R.I.P. :-(

    • John Greco says:

      Dorian, I agree, though it’s always easy to say than do, However, from what I have read he was substance free for over 20 years before his recent relapse, he should have looked for help before the situation got out of hand. He always was a pleasure to watch perform. I wish I could have seen him on Broadway in DEATH OF A SALESMAN.

      • John, I do see your point. I just can’t help wondering what the hell happened to get him toppling off the wagon after all those years. It’s just such a terrible shame, that’s all. At least we’ll have Hoffman’s great body of work to remember him by.

      • John Greco says:

        When you have an addiction, it’s a lifetime thing, whether its drugs, alcohol or even food. You’re right. he should have looked for help, it’s out there if you want it. Why he did not, I cannot answer…

  5. Such a tragic loss of a great actor, I will miss his presence on the big screen :-(

  6. Page says:

    John.
    A perfect tribute to Hoffman and his outstanding body of work, life.
    It is a heart breaker when movie icons leave us under scandalous circumstances. But it does show us once again that brilliance often brings with it sadness and demons. Nothing has changed since we first got our glimpse of ‘stars’ on celluloid.

    While Kevin Spacey has been my favorite working actor for over 20 years now, I’ve not missed a Hoffman film since first seeing him in Twister. While not the lead he stole that film. I was so glad to see his star rise after that and boy did the coveted scripts come in. 60 films on your resume is nothing to sneeze at!

    I plan to re-watch Pirate Radio and The Talented Mr. Ripley this week and I hope others will spend some time seeing some of his films that they may have missed. Every last one of them deserves a look.

    Again, beautifully written!
    Page

    • John Greco says:

      Page,

      I want to take another look at CAPOTE where I thought he really nailed down the author’s persona. I love PIRATE RADIO, a fun film with a great cast. Kevin Spacey is another great actor with a slew of amazing performances. Thanks!!!

  7. Lovely tribute and such a sad story. We can never know what demons drive such gifted people to such tragic ends. His work is memorable and I am sure he will be the topic of classic film bloggers in years to come.

    • John Greco says:

      Marsha,

      Thanks very much. You right, I think many bloggers will begin taking a closer look at his work. It’s sad, 46 is not old! He should of had a lot of years ahead of him with so many now unfilled performances..

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