Critically-acclaimed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died Sunday from a suspected drug overdose.
The 46-year-old was found dead in his Greenwich Village home in New York Sunday morning. Hoffman has three children with his partner of 15 years, Mimi O’Donnell.
Sources tell the Associated Press Hoffman had a syringe stuck into his arm when he was found by a friend who called 911. There were also envelopes of heroin in the apartment. An autopsy to determine Hoffman’s cause of death is expected to take place Monday.
Hoffman spoke candidly over the years about his past struggles with addiction. After 23 years sober, he admitted to falling off the wagon with prescription pills and heroin. That led to a stint in rehab.
In a 2011 interview with the Guardian, Hoffman described his addictions as “pretty bad”. “I had no interest in drinking in moderation. And I still don’t”, he told the paper. “Just because all that time’s passed doesn’t mean maybe it was just a phase.”
Hoffman’s family released the following statement Sunday afternoon.
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone. This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers.”
Movie critic Richard Crouse told Newstalk 1010 Sunday Hoffman had “an incredibly diverse career and knocked it out of the park virtually every time.”
Hoffman won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in the 2005 biopic “Capote”. He received three nominations in the Best Supporting Actor category for The Master, Doubt and Charlie Wilson’s War.
Crouse says Hoffman brought a soulful-ness and a believability to his performances. “When you saw him on screen, there was nothing really false about it, you never really saw the acting.”
One of Hoffman’s breakthrough roles was as a gay member of a porno film crew in “Boogie Nights”, one of several movies Paul Thomas Anderson-directed movies that he would eventually appear in.
Hoffman often took on comic, slightly off-kilter roles in movies like “Along Came Polly”, “The Big Lebowski” and “Almost Famous”, in which he plays real life rock critic Lester Bangs. Crouse says Hoffman’s turn as Bangs is his favourite performance by the actor.
“He seems like such a huge part of it and he’s just such a great shining white light in the middle of this movie, even though it is a relatively small part. And that’s a testament to his talent”, says Crouse.
Hoffman was set to reprise his role as Plutarch Heavensbee in the next instalment of the “The Hunger Games” franchise, “Mockingjay. Showtime recently announced Hoffman would star in “Happyish,” a TV comedy series about a middle-aged man’s pursuit of happiness.
Crouse says in interviews, Hoffman wasn’t interested in talking about his craft as an actor, but would speak passionately about books.
Hoffman began his acting career on stage. He studied theatre as a teenager with the New York State Summer School of the Arts and the Circle in the Square Theatre. He then majored in drama at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Hoffman performed in revivals of “True West,” “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and “The Seagull”, a summer production that also featured Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. In 2012, he was more than equal to one of the great roles in American theatre, Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman”.
Hoffman was three times nominated for a Tony, but never won.