R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman


I don’t want to believe it is true. A part of me is refusing to believe it. But apparently it is true. I don’t know what to say. With all of the great acting work he has done, I also always admired his commitment to the New York theatre scene, especially his work with the Labyrinth Theater, of which he was a member (I saw Our Lady of 121st Street at Labyrinth, which was directed by Hoffman). It’s horrible. I don’t know what else to say. When he was good, there was nobody better. I remember watching Boogie Nights back when it first came out and thinking, “Oh my Lord, who is that pudge-ball biting the end of his pen, and freaking out about his crush? He’s AMAZING!!” Yes. He is.

He was.

I miss him already.

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21 Responses to R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman

  1. mutecypher says:

    Just awesome in “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead.”

    And playing Lester in “Almost Famous.”

    Terrible news.

  2. Rob says:

    Awful news, just awful.

  3. Rinaldo says:

    And in my favorite movie, The Talented Mr. Ripley.

    I’m still absorbing this; part of my brain doesn’t believe it yet. Such a dreadful loss.

    • sheila says:

      He was wonderful in Mr. Ripley!

      It’s just awful. He had tried to get help, he just came out of rehab. Addiction like this is a monster. We need more compassion towards those who suffer!!

      Poor guy. My heart goes out to his family and his children – awful.

  4. Allison bennett says:

    I had the same reaction to him in Boogie Nights….he somehow stole every scene he was in. He was riveting. He was so gifted and this is unbelievably sad.

    • sheila says:

      And the T-shirts he wore in Boogie Nights – they were too tight and just made him look pudgy and he was so tragic and endearing.

      I’m so sad.

  5. sheila says:

    I saw him do TRUE WEST with John C. Riley – where they alternated roles throughout the run. I saw it twice, so I could see each one in each role. WHAT an experience – definitely top 10 theatrical experiences of my life. Wow. Very fortunate that I got to see him onstage a couple of times. I also saw him do Treplev in THE SEAGULL in Central Park – and he actually was not good in that production, he was the weak link, I’ve written about it before – but you’re always going to have misfires along the way. Hoffman had very few. TRUE WEST was one of those experiences I’ll never forget. I hung around outside afterwards and talked to Hoffman and Riley for about 2 seconds, and got their autographs and told them how awesome they both were. Ballsy, that production – they both had to create BOTH gigantic roles – and keep them sharp over the course of the run. It was incredible!

  6. Phil1.0 says:

    Jessie and I watched Almost Famous again on a whim Saturday night. We forgot he was in it, and, he plays LESTER BANGS! I have been immersed in your Lester bangs pieces and mentioned to Jessie, “oh my god this is great PHS as Lester bangs PERFECT!” A few minutes later after one of his scenes I said, “I would pay to watch that guy cut the grass.” I usually stay away from celebrity death chatter but this one stings. He was SO. GOOD. Damn it.

    • Phil1.0 says:

      PSH auto corrected to PHS grrrrrr

    • sheila says:

      Phil – I know, Lester!!!! He was so wonderful in Almost Famous!

      I’m with you, this one stings. I can’t wrap my head around it that it’s over, that what we have from now is all we’re gonna have (although I am sure some posthumous things will start coming out).


  7. Todd Restler says:

    This totally blows. I’ve mentioned on your blog before how he was one of my favorite actors. He was someone who completely disappeared into a role and just BECAME whoever he was playing. So sad. I really can’t believe this one.

    Boogie Nights put him on the map for me as well, just an awesome role in an amazing movie, one of my favorites. Great scenes abound, but for me the one where he tries to kiss Mark Wahlberg is a classic. The rejection he feels, the quick move to try to blame it on the booze, (“Yeah, I’m wasted, I’m like out of my head”), the cursing himself out (“I’m a fucking idiot, I’m a fucking idiot”) was so universal and touching, the fact that he is gay is secondary or even forgotten. Scotty J does not seem like a character that would advance Gay rights or tolerance, but in a weird way I think he did.

    As I look over his filmography, the quality of the movies he was in is stunning. Hard to think of another actor(other then the untouchable John Cazale) with a higher ratio of total performances/overall quality of movies.

    Whether starring in a small piece (Love Liza) or a Big one (The Master), or as part of an ensemble (State and Main, Magnolia), the guy always seemed right for the part. Owning Mahoney is an overlooked gem, an awesome look at addiction (gambling) that maybe Hoffman could relate to. Happiness showed how fearless he could be, playing one of the creepier guys I’ve seen on screen, perhaps only topped by Dylan Baker in the same movie.

    For the best evidence of his brilliance, I look at his 2007. On the heels of his Oscar win, he took one big role in Mission Impossible III, then went back to his wheelhouse of quirky characters in offbeat movies.

    The Savages, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, and Charlie Wilson’s War came out back to back to back in 2007. That is two completely different starring roles in two totally different kinds of movies, and a scene stealing turn in a Hollywood movie where he stole the movie from no less than Tom Hanks. In The Savages, he plays one of the best “normal” guys I have seen on screen, and in Before the Devil Knows your Dead he is off the rails dysfunction. Then a quirky CIA guy.

    When you watch these movies you don’t see the guy, just the character. That is a gift few share (Jeff Bridges is another). Just amazing. Damn.

    RIP PSH.

    • sheila says:

      // Scotty J does not seem like a character that would advance Gay rights or tolerance, but in a weird way I think he did. //

      This comment brought tears to my eyes, Todd. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

      More to come … busy morning, sorry, just wanted to make that comment.

      • sheila says:

        I co-sign all of your comments, Todd – it’s a beautiful overview of the diversity of his roles. I love that he kept coming back to the stage, too, playing no less than Willy Loman.

        This is a tragic death and addiction is tragic for those who suffer from it. I ache for his children and his friends – a good friend of mine was in a play directed by Hoffman and this is a huge blow for his circle of friends.

        I miss what we WON’T see from him. He was just getting more and more bold in his choices, more ambitious, and it was always exciting, whatever he did.

        I still can’t wrap my head around it. It’s too much.

        Thanks for your comment. You summed up what I couldn’t in my initial response.

        • Todd Restler says:

          Thanks Sheila. There is an extended cut of Almost Famous which I love, and it includes a scene of PSH as Lester Bangs at the radio station riffing on rock bands that was much longer then what appeared in the movie, and is great. ” Yes? No.” (Tosses album).

          I know Ebert was a big Owning Mahoney fan; I think if I had to pick just one of his performances to highlight as a showcase for his talents, and as possibly a bit overlooked, that would be the one.

  8. Desirae says:

    When I heard the news I had an immediate reaction of “That isn’t FAIR”. As though that means anything. He is going to be so missed.

    Apparently he had 20 years clean or something … that’s just scary as hell, that addiction can still get someone 20 years after the fact. I come from a family of addicts and I worry about that sort of thing constantly.

    • sheila says:

      Desirae – The addiction thing is terrifying. A friend (Alex, I’ve written about her a lot) wrote a piece on Facebook, which she’s fine with people sharing elsewhere: It speaks to the fact that an addiction like this one is always waiting in the shadows. Russell Brand also wrote a wonderful piece in The Guardian about how he is 10 years sober and he always feels that at any second he could fall off the wagon. Alex wrote:

      “I have been in and out of my own Light for decades. I know the eternal battle with the syringe. Heroin and opiates were my lovers, my best friends and my comfort. Even with over a decade of sobriety, I went back to it. It is a haunting and seductive path and only we who have traveled this way, truly Know this way.

      I am lucky. I am fortunate. I am still here.

      But I know, and I know this in the deepest part of me, that I am only moments away from another binge. I teeter on the brink of the darkness that constantly beckons. But today, I embrace that as part of my journey. Part of my experience in this vessel I inhabit. That is the great irony; I know it, and I live it.

      Thank you Mr. Hoffman for your great gifts, your enduring spirit and your miraculous fight. Be free.


  9. Dg says:

    46… One of our guys- our generation. First thing I thought of was that great little part he had in Lebowski… Not sure why with all those great other parts but that’s what I thought of. Sad.

  10. sheila says:

    A FB friend (whom I have met, he is very good friends with my cousin, my brother, other friends, he came to the reading of my script in LA) was very good friends with Hoffman, they had worked together, and he is devastated. He shared one story: the FB friend was in a play in New York. Hoffman had one day off from shooting a film in LA and flew to New York to see the play. Afterwards, they got in my friend’s car to go get something to eat, and Hoffman (who had been all proud and beaming and “you were great”) said, “So. Do you think we can go deeper with your character?” And they sat in the car for three hours, smoking cigarettes, going through my friend’s script, line by line, trying to find more depth, more nuance, ways to make it better. My friend is shattered by what has happened – but I am grateful that he shared this story. I think the most eloquent word in Hoffman’s sentence is the word “we”. Not “Do you think you can go deeper?” But “we”. We’re in this together. Let’s figure it out. Your work is my work, I care as much about it as I care about my own.

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