Philip Seymour Hoffman

 

I’m too upset to think of anything much to say about this.

Found dead with needle in arm–the headline says.

He was without question among the best of his time. I never was moved so deeply, so consistently by an actor’s performances. He had that deep energy. A bit of mischief and empathy in his eyes, and rough round edges that made him seem so disarmingly real on screen.

Never felt like he was faking it. (Here’s a link to a highlight reel of his work.)

In the end, it’s a story like so many others.

There were signs of trouble. A recent stint in rehab after a long stretch of sobriety.

46 years old. Left three kids behind.

I don’t know what to say except I’m angry and deeply sad that he’s gone.

I snapped this photo two years ago outside the Ethel Barrymore Theater on 47th street on my way in to see the show.

It was his last run on Broadway.

Why’d you have to do this, Phil?

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @StuInTokyo

    Very sad, but not surprised.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MikeK

    I liked him and I like few actors these day. John Belushi went the same way.

    • #2
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    @KnotwisethePoet

    Just saw it on my facebook.  I think I’ve actually only seen one of his films- Mission Impossible 3, where he makes for a very chilling villain.  

    But from all the clips/trailers of his other films I’ve seen (Magnolia, Doubt, Capote, Synedoche, New York, A Late Quartet, Punchdrunk Love, The Master, Hunger Games: Catching Fire), it’s clear he was one of the best actors working today.  No matter what kind of character he was cast as or what his character was doing onscreen, he was always interesting and always felt 100% real.

    Drugs again – WHY!?

    • #3
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    @MollieHemingway

    Just horrible. Horrible.

    • #4
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    @HeartofAmerica

    He was one of the best character actors of his time and I can’t even imagine the quality of work we would have seen if he hadn’t tragically died. I only hope Justin Bieber is paying attention.

    • #5
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    @DCMcAllister

    What a terrible loss. I was so grieved when I read about his death. Words fail.

    • #6
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    @CrowsNest

    Such a shame. Great character actor.

    • #7
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    @RobertWalton

    Agreed, best actor of this generation, brilliant in every role, stole nearly every movie he was in.    Thank you for the clip link.

    Why does such genius come with such complications and predispositions?

    • #8
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    @GreatGhostofGodel

    Well, crap.

    And I say that as a guy whose nom de plume refers to possibly the most brilliant logician ever—and who starved himself to death due to paranoia about being poisoned.

    • #9
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    @PJS

    Heroine is stronger than you are, no matter how together you may be.  You always need a little more.  Then it kills you.  Such a waste.

    • #10
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    @ChrisCampion

    Imagine the path that leads you from an aspiring actor, in high school, say, to a point where after achieving both personal and professional success at a very high level, you come to the point where you think that injecting an illegal substance into your arm via needle is the best possible thing you can do today.

    Imagine the path.  And how he willingly chose it.  An utter and complete waste of a life.

    • #11
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    @dittoheadadt

    I read about it and thought, how senseless.  Sad.  But that’s about all I could conjure up in emotion for his death.  (Heath Ledger, too.)  Too many good and bright and talented people die each day not by their own hand; my reservoir of sympathy is reserved for them.

    I do have sympathy for the family he left behind.  They don’t deserve the pain and suffering he inflicted upon them.

    • #12
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    @CommodoreBTC

    doing heroin in your 40s as a father of three young children…

    this makes me more angry than sad

    • #13
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    @JackDunphy
    A.D.P. Efferson

    Jack Dunphy: 

    I understand the libertarian position on drug laws, but it raises a conundrum: Is a man truly free if he is enslaved to a drug habit? 

    [. . .]

    I am curious though, given your experience what would be your solution to end drug use?  · 7 hours ago

    I have no solution for it.  There has been substance abuse among men for as long as there have been substances to abuse.  But for any individual the answer lies in what Edmund Burke called the “moral chains on our appetites.”  This country, indeed all of Western civilization, was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, among which is self-restraint.  As these principles are eroded, so too are the moral chains that control our appetites.

    I was once given morphine after being badly injured at work.  It was a delightful buzz.  Once the need for it had passed, it was only a sense of morality that inhibited me from wanting to experience that buzz again.

    • #14
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    @

    I’m angry and deeply sad that he’s gone.

    Why? He died doing what he loved.

    • #15
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    @AaronMiller

    I’m surprised how many people are referencing this on Facebook and elsewhere. I didn’t realize he was such a popular actor.

    I mainly associate him with Twister.

    • #16
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    @RobininIthaca

    As someone with a close family member who has fought heroin addiction for years, I can say that you never rest easy that your loved one is out of the woods.  Reading about someone as successful and talented as PSH dying of an overdose and leaving behind a young family is just the cold water reminder of this sad fact.

    What my sister did to get her hands on drugs has shocked us more than anything.  We do wonder what that might have looked like if drugs were not illicit and there could be a more public shaming due to not having to operate in the cover of darkness.  I don’t even pretend to know the answer to that question.  I do know that it is impossible to understand why people find solace in the oblivion of heroin – smart, talented, incredible people with much to offer the world.  And I wish that I could.

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Member
    @

    I kept thinking about this while watching all the Twitter jokes last night about “Pot shops will be open late in Denver tonight.”

    To anyone who has ever fought the temptation of addiction to any substance (mental or physical addiction) the societal shoulder shrug of gradual legalization of drugs like marijuana is only going to increase the number of stories like this.  (and if you don’t think pot is a gateway drug for many, maybe not all, but many, you are fooling yourself)

    I agree with Jack;  laws won’t change this, only the moral suasion of a society with some kind of ethical anchoring will affect our “if it feels good, do it” mentality today.  

    I was also reading a blurb on Drudge about a couple who evidently died from CO poisoning in a car with the engine running in a closed garage…while having sex.  I wonder if in a few months, we will find out that this is the latest “buzz” for “better sex” like David Carradine’s fatal strangulation strategy.  Wake up people…an unending search for ever greater sensual pleasures is a “dead end.”

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Member
    @Annefy
    Aaron Miller: I’m surprised how many people are referencing this on Facebook and elsewhere. I didn’t realize he was such a popular actor.

    I mainly associate him with Twister. · 46 minutes ago

    I’ve seen a lot of movies PSH was in  and I remember his role when even the movie was forgettable (or I HATED it, like Boogie Nights). Before The Devil Knows Your Dead was … I can’t even think of a word. I wish I hadn’t seen the movie, but not because it was a bad movie. It was chilling, but PSH was unbelievable. From The Big Liebowski to Capote, the guy was unforgettable and made every movie he was in better.

    There’s a couple of actors – and PSH was one of them, Daniel Day Louis is another – that if they are “acting” I don’t know what everyone else is doing.

    • #19
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    @ChrisCampion
    Annefy

    Aaron Miller: I’m surprised how many people are referencing this on Facebook and elsewhere. I didn’t realize he was such a popular actor.

    I mainly associate him with Twister. · 46 minutes ago

    I’ve seen a lot of movies PSH was in  and I remember his role when even the movie was forgettable (or I HATED it, like Boogie Nights). Before The Devil Knows Your Dead was … I can’t even think of a word. I wish I hadn’t seen the movie, but not because it was a bad movie. It was chilling, but PSH was unbelievable. From The Big Liebowski to Capote, the guy was unforgettable and made every movie he was in better.

    There’s a couple of actors – and PSH was one of them, Daniel Day Louis is another – that if they are “acting” I don’t know what everyone else is doing. · 0 minutes ago

    Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead.  Great flick.  Hard to watch, because of the characters’ behaviors – but a great flick.

    • #20
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    @KnotwisethePoet

    I think one testament to his acting ability was that Hoffman, like the also-wonderful Paul Giamatti (stay away from drugs, Paul!  We need you in our movies!), occasionally did get leading man roles, even though he does not have Hollywood leading-man looks.   

    • #21
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    @BarbaraKidder
    Mole-eye: PSH’s acting was always so good.  I’ll miss what he might have done in the future. 

    Any chance we might have had at keeping drug use within acceptable margins was lost through false compassion.  Users are treated as the least culpable parties in the drug business, when in fact they are the tribbles on Spaceship Western Civilization.  They seem so inoffensive, yet they wage destruction on themselves and those who love them and keep the cartels in business.  So we do the dumbest thing in the world and prosecute the entrepeneurs who simply respond to the demand.  Not that they’re nice people either, but without much demand their would be fewer suppliers.

    What a waste. · 11 hours ago

    ‘Drug-induced mental health disorders’ are now mandated coverage through the Affordable Care Act;  another “dumb thing” that our government does.

    This “false compassion” has the state subsidizing the whole drug culture . Subsidy always diminishes the worth of the thing that is subsidized – in this instance, ‘rehab.’, and we are expected to pay for it, ad infinitum, with more of our income taken from us!

    • #22
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    @Annefy

    Agreed, Chris. But whenever I talk about it as a great movie, which it was, I always add the disclaimer: but please don’t misunderstand that I am recommending it.

    • #23
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    @AdrianaHarris

    I completely agree, his death is a terrible loss to our culture. Usually when a celebrity dies of an overdose I don’t spend much time thinking about it, but this is different. He was as great in comedy as he was in drama. I wish he could have found a way through the darkness. R.I.P. 

    • #24
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    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Live hard, die young, it’s the American way. Hoffman was the greatest character actor of his generation. But the question that begs to be asked is would he have been if he was not also a drug user? Did the drug use make him a better actor? Allowed him to tap into something that made him great? Is there a reason that drug use and talented people seem to go hand in hand? I know some that would say there is a connection, maybe some on this site.

    • #25
  26. Profile Photo Member
    @Annefy
    Knotwise the Poet: I think one testament to his acting ability was that Hoffman, like the also-wonderful Paul Giamatti (stay away from drugs, Paul!  We need you in our movies!), occasionally did get leading man roles, even though he does not have Hollywood leading-man looks.    · 10 minutes ago

    Paul G is a favorite of mine, also. Chris Cooper is another. I don’t care the genre or the subject, I will watch any movie they are in.

    • #26
  27. Profile Photo Member
    @

    “With Brandt as my witness”, I’m gonna miss that guy.

    brandt.jpg

    • #27
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    @Moleeye

    PSH’s acting was always so good.  I’ll miss what he might have done in the future. 

    Having served many years in  the war on drugs’ front lines,  I don’t think that there’s any way to curb drug use until it becomes as socially unacceptable and embarrassing as picking your nose or masturbating in public.  The opposition is going to have to come from society at large, and potential users have to refrain from starting through pride (I’m better than that) or shame (I wouldn’t be caught dead doing that.)

    Any chance we might have had at keeping drug use within acceptable margins was lost through false compassion.  Users are treated as the least culpable parties in the drug business, when in fact they are the tribbles on Spaceship Western Civilization.  They seem so inoffensive, yet they wage destruction on themselves and those who love them and keep the cartels in business.  So we do the dumbest thing in the world and prosecute the entrepeneurs who simply respond to the demand.  Not that they’re nice people either, but without much demand their would be fewer suppliers.

    What a waste.

    • #28
  29. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @MikeH
    Jack Dunphy: …I’ll never forget one man who, when I asked him the question, said, “No way.”

    “And why not?” I asked.

    “Because if it’s legal, pretty soon everyone will be like me.”

    I understand the libertarian position on drug laws, but it raises a conundrum: Is a man truly free if he is enslaved to a drug habit? For all his wealth and success, was Philip Seymour Hoffman free?  And would he and those who love him have been better off if he had been arrested as he purchased what turned out to be the final, fatal dose?

    Cigarettes are legal and much less harmful than heroin and most people don’t smoke them for health and addiction fears. What makes you think the drug addict is right? He’s already an outlier.

    To ask the question “Is a man truly free if he is enslaved to a drug habit?” misses the libertarian position. Libertarianism is about freedom from state coercion and the coercion of other humans. Still, if someone was there with Hoffman and he knew he was likely about to overdose, I would expect him to stop him. 

    cont.

    • #29
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    @JimRiley

    I was saddened to hear about him. Must have been an awful descent to end the way it did. 

    I’d always thought that if they got around to making Whittaker Chambers’ Witness into a movie, or better yet, an HBO-type series, that he would have been a good choice to play Chambers. 

    RIP. 

    • #30
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