Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York City apartment Sunday morning. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, law enforcement is still investigating the cause of death. Hoffman was 46.
Hoffman was one of the most talented and versatile actors of his generation. After working in small supporting roles, in 1996 he appeared both as an ebullient tornado chaser in Twister and an anonymous gambler in Hard Eight, two roles which would only hint at his ability to transform himself. His subsequent performance in 1997’s Boogie Nights not only further evidenced his enormous talent, playing a closeted, lovelorn member of Jack Horner’s film crew, but seemed to solidify his collaboration with writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson, with whom he subsequently worked on Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love and The Master.
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Hoffman’s skills as a chameleon served him well both critically and commercially. Moving from roles as an uptight manservant in The Big Lebowski to a knowing, crass pal of Dickie Greenleaf in The Talented Mr. Ripley to the iconic rock music journalist Lester Bangs in Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical Almost Famous, he quickly became one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood.
He could do comedy (Along Came Polly), drama (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead) and action (Mission: Impossible III) with equal commitment, and equal success; he was appropriately rewarded in 2005 for playing the title character in Capote.
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Cause of death has yet to be confirmed, but the actor checked himself into rehab in 2013 for heroin use, an addiction that reports indicate plagued him for decades. Hoffman leaves behind longtime partner Mimi O’Donnell, two daughters, Tallulah and Willa, and his son Alexander.
Click here to listen to an installment of the Comedy Bang Bang Podcast featuring guest star Philip Seymour Hoffman.
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