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Philip Seymour Hoffman Dead of Heroin Overdose

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Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Academy Award winning actor, was found dead of an apparent Heroin overdose, with the needle still protruding from his arm, in his Greenwich Village apartment according to law enforcement officials.

 

It would be a gross oversight not to write something on the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. My personal feelings aside, as I am angry that a man with such deep and undeniable talent with the possibility of leaving a vast body of work could toss it away for the momentary, instantaneous, euphoric high.

Philip Seymour Hoffman,46, died with a hypodermic needle containing residue of Heroin in his arm. His love of the high superseded all.  He had been dead for at least twelve hours when he was found by a David Bar Katz, a playwright friend, who has been quoted in many media sources as saying, "I thought this was a closed chapter."

Hoffman was a master at losing himself in his roles, lauded globally by those whose employment is to critique the arts and artists, shred, produce scathing reviews, if necessary, drop the illusions and hope of filmmakers and talent, and, even more rarely, praise.

Hoffman was one of the lucky ones. His work garnered praise, repeatedly, as colleagues, continued to choose his portrayals, even when the film was a disaster, Hoffman would rise above the poor writing, and fill the screen, becoming the role and earning notice and through the annual voting process he would be nominated, again. He earned a total of four Academy Award nominations.

His fellow actors recognized him, honoring him with an Academy Award for the role of Truman Capote, in the film "Capote." One could say, "Capote" was a role he was born to play, but that sentiment would have to be repeated, when the next role, or the next produced equal depth, and courage for this relatively young and immensely talented graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of Drama.

Hoffman, in the summer before his acceptance to NYU studied at Circle in the Square Theater School, after graduation Hoffman stayed in Manhattan working with the LAByrnth Theater Company, where he met his long time partner, Mimi O’Donnell. The couple, who lived apart, had three children.

Hoffman’s courage to fully immerse himself in his roles, he was 100 percent when he took projects and yes even as a junkie, and in death, he was fully given over, unmasked, naked to only the role.

Hoffman admitted in a “60 Minutes” interview his love for drugs, anything and everything, full admission no hiding and total acceptance by colleagues, peers and employers.

Evidence of his total commitment to heroin was discovered as police processed the scene, a two bedroom Greenwich Village apartment he recently rented for close to $10,000 a month, discovering empty “Ace of Spades” stamped baggies in the bathroom, where the body was also discovered, under the bed, and throughout the house. NYPD sources said an additional 65 unopened bags were in his home. Hoffman again gave himself totally and completely.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was born in 1967 in Fairport, NY, a small town, close to Rochester, New York to Marilyn O’Connor, a family court judge and lawyer and Gorden Stowell Hoffman, a Xerox executive. Hoffman’s childhood was not idyllic, his father walked out on them when he was nine. The family suffered emotionally, although his mother was financially able to keep him, his brother and two sisters from experiencing the tragic stories one often hears birthed from single parent homes of that generation.

Hoffman began to gather stream in his career as a supporting actor, bit parts for the newbie in "Scent of a Woman" and "Twister" earned him standout praise.

His body of work continued to grow working one and two films a year, some memorable and other not so, beginning with "Boogie Nights" (1997), "The Big Lebowski"(1998), "Patch Adams" (1998), "Magnolia" (1999), "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (1999), "Almost Famous" (2000), "Red Dragon" (2002), "25th Hour" (2002), "Punch-Drunk Love" (2002), "Cold Mountain" (2003) and "Along Came Polly" in 2004 and "Mission Impossible III" in 2006.

In 2005, Hoffman began a second phase of his acting career. Rather than churning out the work, the roles he took on called for more courage, vulnerability. The gamble paid off.

He became "Capote" and the community at large responded to his work. He won almost every acting award for his portrayal including the Oscar for Best Actor. His three other Academy Award nominations came for his supporting work in "Charlie Wilson's War" (2007), "Doubt" (2008) and "The Master" (2012).

In his final  years of his twenty-five year career included “Owning Mahowny” (2003), “Before the Devil Knows You're Dead” (2007), “The Savages” (2007), “Synecdoche, New York” (2008), “Moneyball” (2011), “The Ides of March” (2011) and “A Late Quartet,” (2012).

Born with a gift, honed and crafted, Hoffman allowed himself enough time away from his demons to gift the world with moments of brilliance.

I’m angry that we, or I, won’t be able to sit back, behind the veil of my computer screen and praise, shred, dash his hopes or simply be awed at the depth of what could have been. Damn, Philip you cheated me and I’m pissed off. 

 

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