Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967 – 2014)

2011PhilipSeymourHoffmanPA090712My passion to develop as an actor didn’t have anything to do with people knowing me. I had no idea that would happen. To become famous, to become a celebrity is something that I thought happened to other people” (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

The sad death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of America’s finest actors, shook the world on Sunday afternoon, 2 February 2014. This is a clear tragedy since Philip was an immensely talented actor who was fiercely devoted to his profession. At 17-years of age, Philip was selected for NY State Summer School of Arts in Saratoga Springs, and he eventually received a bachelor’s degree in drama from NY University. It is possible that I first saw Philip in film The Getaway (1994) alongside Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, and even though he played there a very small (and negative) role, he did leave an impression on me. We probably can all recall him in somewhat uncomplimentary supporting roles in such films as Scent of a Woman (1992), When a Man Loves a Woman (1994) and The Talented Mr Ripley (1999). However, it was in Capote (2005) where he really shined as a leading actor, a role which subsequently earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor. Incidentally, Philip was awarded 23 different awards for his performance in Capote.

However, it was Philip’s later films which really made everyone focus on him as a true talent. His performances in Wilson’s War (2007), Doubt (2008) and in The Master (2012) were nothing short of brilliant. Apart from his film acting, few people also know that he was passionately involved in theatre work, and even directed his own film Jack Goes Boating (2010). 

PhilipSeymourHoffmanCapote

Philip never stopped to encourage young people to get involved in acting, stressing such things as the art of fine acting, rather than money or fame as driving factors. The role of a supporting actor will always drag behind him, but, then, where leading men would be without their supporting cast? 

9 thoughts on “Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967 – 2014)”

  1. Lovely piece. I’m still trying to process this as if I’ve lost a close friend. Hoffman was the real deal and an exceptional talent that will be greatly missed. He’s been one of my top actors for years.

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    1. Thanks, Mark. I do understand and share your sadness. He has been blowing me away with his performances in recent years, and it was not altogether what I’ve been expecting, to be honest. Even when Hoffman’s roles were small, they were always memorable, and I think people seem to take this real quality supporting work for granted, something which I think should not be happening. Kinder “you only miss it when it is gone”. Sad.

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  2. […] It is impossible to do justice to this list without mentioning at least one movie by Spike Lee (“Do The Right Thing” (1989)). His “25th Hour” is different from many other films on this list because it is so essentially a post-9/11 movie, and, thus, there is inexplicable anxiety, tension, frustration, uncertainty and gloominess permeating this deeply-felt film. We follow Monty (Edward Norton) in his final 24 hours before he goes to prison for seven years for drug-related offences. Apart from imbedded social messages, Lee also injected into his film an amazingly fitting, melancholy score and potent imagery, with the lonely image of Monty and his dog quietly making its own powerful statement. The film features the Ground Zero, formerly the site of the World Trade Centre, a depressing sight since Lee shot it so recently after 9/11, as well as the Carl Schurz Park and FDR Drive promenade, among other locations. The film also boasts the performances by Brian Cox, Anna Paquin and by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.  […]

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