Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death from a drug overdose on the east coast is leaving the west coast, aka Hollywood, reeling. Besides the sadness that the entertainment business is feeling about the waste of such a mega talent at such a young age, the fact that he was one of the most decent, well liked actors working in this rough and tough business makes it just a bit harder to digest.

Philip never played the Hollywood bullshit game. I have first hand experience of this in my long acquaintance with him.  About 15 years ago, when I first came to Los Angeles, and Philip was just starting to come into the Hollywood consciousness (although us New Yorkers knew him for years for his stage work), I interviewed him for the first time.

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I was working for Glamour magazine then, and literally had to ask the celebrities hard-hitting questions such as, “What’s your favorite lipstick color? Why does a confident woman turn you on?”  Hey folks, it paid my bills.  Anyway, at one event I had my first chance to talk to Philip, and I swear, I’m 99% sure I asked him the aforementioned lipstick question.  I remember his answer like it was yesterday.

He looked at me and sweetly said, “Leah, you seem like a lovely lady.  But I’m so not the guy to answer these types of questions.  I’m happy in a T-shirt, and I think all women are beautiful so this type of stuff is just not me.  I’m an actor guy.”  I got it, laughed and from then on whenever I ran into him at a premiere or event, we always had a nice camaraderie.  He always kept me up to date on what he was doing and vice-versa.  He always made a beeline to talk to me at any event.

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What makes this death really suck?  The fact that no one in Hollywood ever had a bad word to say about him.  No director or producer, no fellow actor, crew member, reporter, anyone.   He was always low key and gracious, albeit very truly shy.  Hoffman never had any airs, never any arrogance, never.

And his always-exploding talent, wow.  We all know about that.  Audiences thoroughly enjoyed watching him do his actor thing throughout the years. His untimely death is such a waste.  There are very few actors currently working with the raw talent he had.  And very few actors with the same genuine sincerity, decency, love for his craft and kindness.  Please Philip, rest in peace.  You so deserve it.

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