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.