Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967–2014)

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I wanted to take a few moments to write an article in dedication and memory of my favourite actor of all time, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Suffering for many years with the disease of addiction, Hoffman reportedly died of overdose just yesterday. Known for his incredible versatility and consistency in both film and stage acting, I think he was one of the most talented performers to ever grace cinema. His very presence in a film, no matter how grand or minute, was always a sight to behold, a force to be reckoned with, and a remarkable demonstration of true talent.

Over the course of his short career, Hoffman received numerous awards and accolades. With 4 Academy Award nominations, he won Best Actor in a Leading Role for the portrayal of Truman Capote, author of modern creative non-fiction masterpiece “In Cold Blood”, in 2005’s “Capote”. He has teamed up with some of my most cherished directors, helping to mold and flawlessly manifest their artistic vision. Highlights include collaborations with the majority of Paul Thomas Anderson’s films, including “Boogie Nights”, “Magnolia”, “Punch-Drunk Love”, and most recently, “The Master” alongside the talented Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams. However, his heart-felt performance in Charlie Kaufman’s “Synecdoche, New York” as Caden Cotard, a troubled playwright and director struggling to complete his works due to endless relational quarrels and bizarre health issues, will remain in my mind the absolute pinnacle of his brilliance.

Other notable performances and cameos can be seen scattered diffusely throughout his prolific career, including his cult classic role in the Coen Brother’s “The Big Lebowski”, his antagonistic characters in “Patch Adams” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley”, as well as his witty, punchy flare in “Charlie Wilson’s War”, “The Ides of March” and “Pirate Radio”. Known for both art house and blockbusters performances, he lent his skill to the latter in “Mission: Impossible III” and films 2-4 of the “Hunger Games” quadrilogy, the finale which is still in filming.  Interestingly, and perhaps a little too close to home, Hoffman also portrayed a finance executive struggling to hide his addiction to heroin in 2007’s “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead”. Known for his humility and gentle demeanor, he would be the last to boast of the impact of his works in the world of cinema.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is survived by his ex-partner, Mimi O’Donnel, and by his 3 children.

Favourite film: Synecdoche, New York (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIizh6nYnTU)

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