The world has tragically lost one of its greatest actors today at the far too young age of 46. Looking back, it’s fair to say that there are – and have been – only a truly small number of others sufficiently talented (and brave) to take on the stunning diversity of roles that Mr. Hoffman so brilliantly executed both on and off the screen. According to The New York Times:
“Philip Seymour Hoffman, perhaps the most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation, who gave three-dimensional nuance to a wide range of sidekicks, villains and leading men on screen and embraced some of the theater’s most burdensome roles on Broadway, died Sunday at an apartment in Greenwich Village. He was 46. The death, apparently from a drug overdose, was confirmed by the police. Mr. Hoffman was found in the apartment by a friend, David Bar Katz, who became concerned after being unable to reach him.”
Even a cursory glance at Mr. Hoffman’s IMDB page is enough to convey the unique greatness of this particular artist. He not only won a well-deserved Oscar in 2006 for Best Actor in the film “Capote,” and additionally stole the show in movies as diverse as “Scent of a Woman” (co-starring with a brilliant Al Pacino), “Doubt,” and “Charlie Wilson’s War” (among many others), but also presented a masterful stage performance on Broadway as Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” – one that earned him his third Tony Award nomination in 2012. He also made numerous memorable smaller appearances in movies including the Coen Brothers’ “The Big Lebowski” and Spike Lee’s “25th Hour.”
“I try to live my life in such a way that I don’t have profound regrets,” Mr. Hoffman told The New York Times in 2008. “That’s probably why I work so much. I don’t want to feel I missed something important.”
Today we can all profoundly regret that Mr. Hoffman somehow ended up missing what could have been a VASTLY longer and continuingly “important” career. Although none of us can know the souls of others (or likely even the circumstances that led to this awful loss), we can – and most certainly should – mourn the departed.
Mr. Hoffman – R.I.P.
Truly one of the greats.