Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Oscar-winning star of Capote, Doubt and most recently The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was found dead today in his apartment in New York City. The cause of death is unknown, but officials suspect that the 46-year-old actor’s death was the result of a drug overdose. Hoffman had admitted to an earlier addiction to heroin. The New York Post claims that the actor was found with a needle in his arm, but as of writing this information has not been confirmed by multiple sources.
There’s no other way to put this: cinema has lost one of its finest actors. Try to think of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s best performance. Now realize that you can’t: he literally gave a great performance in every film, whether he was merely stealing scenes in Jan de Bont’s Twister or utterly captivating us with complex, layered performances in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master and Richard Kwietniowski’s Owning Mahowny.
Hoffman’s screen career lasted just over 20 years, and in the course of that time his performances have simply been some of the finest. He began with smaller roles in films like Martin Brest’s Scent of a Woman and Bob Balaban’s romantic zombie comedy My Boyfriend’s Back, before achieving greater recognition for his memorable supporting turns in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, The Coen Bros.’ The Big Lebowski and Todd Solondz’s Happiness.
From there, Philip Seymour Hoffman emerged as one of the most consistently impressive actors of his generation, earning four Oscar nominations for The Master, Mike Nichols’ Charlie Wilson’s War, John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt and winning – just once – for Bennett Miller’s Capote, with a marvelous performance as influential author Truman Capote that captured all the famous mannerisms but went far, far beyond imitation.
Whatever the circumstances of Hoffman’s death, he is gone too soon. He chomped away at every single part and elevated even the smallest roles into something magnificent. (Yes, even in My Boyfriend’s Back.) Each line of dialogue that emerged from his lips felt real, and felt important. He was, in no uncertain terms, one of the great actors, and dear God, how he will be missed.
Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014): 10 Unforgettable Performances: