Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Philip Seymour Hoffman was 'greatest character actor of his time'

03 February 2014, 15:23

New York - Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was found dead in his New York apartment on Sunday, was hailed as finest character actor of his generation but struggled with fame and addiction.

For more than 20 years Hoffman mesmerised, entertained and spell bound filmgoers with his portrayal of some of the most repellent and yet electrifying characters of the silver screen.

He transformed movies through calculatingly understated performances and his daring choice of roles, quietly stealing scenes from much bigger stars with his portrayals of misfits in films as diverse as Boogie Nights and The Talented Mr Ripley.

In 2006 he won an Oscar for his chilling turn as the brilliant but self-absorbed US author Truman Capote and was immediately flung into the A-list world of instantly recognized celebrities.

But, for all his success, Hoffman was reluctant in the limelight and in an interview with the Guardian published in October 2011 said he thought everyone struggles with self-love.

"I think that's pretty much the human condition, you know, waking up and trying to live your day in a way that you can go to sleep and feel OK about yourself," he was quoted as saying.

He spoke about his struggles with drink and drugs as a drama student at New York University, and reportedly checked himself back into rehab in 2013 after having a relapse with heroin.

Career spanned more than 50 films

His career spanned more than 50 films, as well as TV and theatre credits, and in 2010 he became a director for the first time with Jack Goes Boating.

He appeared in Hollywood blockbusters such as 2006's Mission Impossible III alongside Tom Cruise and Hunger Games but was starred in some of director Paul Thomas Anderson's best films.

He played striking roles in Anderson's Magnolia, starring Cruise (1999); in Flawless, in which he plays a melodramatic drag queen, opposite Robert De Niro and in Punch-Drunk Love.

"Film's hard when you don't have any relationship with the director at all and you just show up," Hoffman said in an interview with Esquire magazine in 2012.

"But that doesn't happen so often with me. I'm lucky that way."

Born Philip Hoffman in July 1967 in Fairport in New York state, he was the third of four children of a Xerox executive and a feminist housewife. They divorced when he was nine.

He became interested in theatre and comedy at school, but was also an accomplished sportsmen. He left home to study at the Tish School of Arts at New York University.

"Theatre's the most taxing. But to act well is always difficult, no matter the material," he told Esquire.
Incorporating his grandfather's name, Seymour, between his given names, he made his big screen debut in a 1991 independent film called Triple Bogey on a Par Five Hole.

In 1997, he made waves as a closeted gay crew member in Anderson's porn industry tale Boogie Nights.

Stole the show in The Talented Mr Ripley

But it was perhaps in Anthony Minghella's thriller The Talented Mr Ripley that he made his true breakthrough.

Although cast alongside A-list favourites Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, he stole the show in a supporting role as the duplicitous preppie Freddie Miles.

The late Minghella described Hoffman as an extraordinary actor "cursed, sometimes, by his own gnawing intelligence, his own discomfort with acting".

The came the 2005 biopic Capote,"which put Hoffman center stage on his own.

In Bennett Miller's movie about the outspoken gay author, Hoffman captured not only Capote's effete demeanour and high-pitched voice but also the powerful forces that drove him and ultimately destroyed him as an artist.

After Capote, Hoffman won three more Oscar nominations as a supporting actor playing a foul-mouthed CIA agent in Charlie Wilson's War in 2008, Doubt in 2009 and The Master in 2013.

In Doubt he was Father Flynn, an anguished Catholic priest suspected of molesting a teenage student.
Based on John Patrick Shanley's successful stage play, the film's best moments come when Hoffman's character wages verbal warfare with his accuser Sister Aloysius played by Meryl Streep.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...