It’s unfortunate to announce that Philip Seymour Hoffman has been pronounced dead today. He was found unresponsive in his apartment and the EMS team pronounced him dead after they were unable to revive him. While the results are not entirely conclusive, a syringe was found in his arm along with two bags of heroin. He had been struggling with addiction and had remained clean for quite some time until having a relapse. Instead of focusing on how he died, we should be focusing on how this Academy Award winning Actor lived.
Hoffman, 46, was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of his Greenwich Village apartment by police responding to an emergency 911 call, and Emergency Medical Service workers declared him dead on the scene, the New York City Police Department said in a statement. An investigation was ongoing.
A police spokesman said investigators found Hoffman with a syringe in his arm and recovered two small plastic bags in the apartment containing a substance suspected of being heroin. A police department source earlier told Reuters that Hoffman had died of an apparent drug overdose.
Despite starting with a variety of small roles in films like Scent of a Woman and Twister, my first memory of Hoffman is his role in Boogie Nights. In the film he played the role of Scotty, a closet homosexual man obsessed with the film’s star Dirk. In my opinion, it’s the first role that showed his range as an actor and his star potential.
Over the next few years he had a variety of small roles in many notable and cult-classic films. Appearing in films like The Big Lebowski, Magnolia, and The Talented Mr. Ripley were all significant additions to his film repertoire but his role as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous was what made him more of a familiar face amongst audiences.
After Almost Famous, Hoffman seemed to be on a journey of discovering his abilities with films like Punch Drunk Love, Red Dragon, and Cold Mountain. Then just a year before his Oscar win, he gave a disgustingly funny performance in Along Came Polly alongside Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. I’ll admit that his role was more memorable than any other actor’s in the film with his crude yet comedic performance that still makes me laugh with disgust to this day.
The following year, Hoffman gave the performance of his lifetime and was commended by the Academy with an Oscar for Best Actor. His performance as Truman Capote in the 2005 film Capote was so iconic and such a transformation for Hoffman. His critical acclaim for the role showed the world that he had the abilities as an actor to step away from just supporting roles and step into the spotlight as a star.
After his Oscar win, the world was Hoffman’s oyster. He was sought out for the role of the villain in Mission Impossible 3 starring alongside Tom Cruise. After the film was released, he was immediately proclaimed the best villain of the Mission Impossible series thus far. After his villainous role, he gave another Oscar worthy performance as a supporting actor in Charlie Wilson’s War starring Tom Hanks. After sharing the screen with Hanks, he shared the screen with other great actors like Meryl Streep in Doubt, George Clooney in The Ides of March, and Brad Pitt in Moneyball. The following year he gained his final Oscar nomination in the low profile yet critically acclaimed film The Master as Lancaster Dodd.
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s career has been a distinguished one. He has been an actor that treated his profession as a passionate art that he clearly loved from his choices in roles and the performances he gave in those roles. He had mostly finished shooting for his role in The Hunger Games series, so despite his passing, we can expect to see him on the big screen again. He was a credit to his profession and he will be genuinely missed. Rest in Peace.