Today, Hollywood, and the world, lost a great actor — Philip Seymour Hoffman, dead at age 46, from an apparent drug overdose. He was found in his New York apartment.
Hoffman’s 2005 Oscar for his role as Truman Capote in the aptly titled Capote should have been the first stepping stone in a legacy of achievements. Instead, the industry and film watchers have lost another great. If this does, indeed, turnout to be a drug-related death, perhaps there is a message about the dangers of such usage, the realization the drugs do not recognize success or social boundaries, and the realities of the devastation caused by such a loss, on any level.
I remember first noticing Hoffman in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights in 1997 and thinking, is this guy that good or is this just his schtick? As an audience we learned, no, he was just that good. He had previously amassed a well-developed resume of movies including Twister and Leap of Faith but it was Boogie Nights that got him noticed.
However, it was his roles in Happiness, Magnolia, and Almost Famous that made me realize this was an actor of rare talent with a long-road ahead. Hoffman, was never afraid to take a role in independent movies, play second fiddle as an ensemble or secondary cast member, or face the challenge of leading man.
He was a unique talent. He has left an impressive resume, a worthy legacy, but fans can’t help but feel an emptiness because this was an actor who, really, had just begun.
By Gordon Shelly