Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman was an American actor and director, who also won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the film Capote.

Full Name: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Born: July 23, 1967, Fairport, New York, U.S.

Parents: Marilyn O'Connor (Mother), Gordon Stowell Hoffman (Father)

Siblings: Jill Hoffman (Sister), Emily Hoffman (Sister), Gordy Hoffman (Brother)

Education: Fairport High School, New York State Summer School of the Arts, New York University, New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

Occupation: Actor/Director/Producer/Theatre Artist

Spouse: Mimi O’Donnell

Children: Cooper Alexander Hoffman (Son), Tallulah Hoffman (Daughter), Willa Hoffman (Daughter)

Key Achievements: Academy Award for Best Actor, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture – Drama, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, etc.

Died: February 2, 2014 (aged 46), Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was an actor with an uncanny knack of portraying the most sheepish of characters with utmost brilliance. Hoffman was also very consistent throughout his performances, and spent about two decades of his life in the entertainment industry. His most praised performance came in the year 2005, in the biographical film Capote, for which he won the coveted Academy Award for Best Actor that year.

Birth, Family and Education

Philip Seymour Hoffman was born on July 23, 1967, to mother Marilyn O'Connor and his father Gordon Stowell Hoffman. The family lived in Fairport, New York, a suburb of Rochester, U.S.A. Philip’s ancestry includes Irish, German, English, and Dutch. His father was a Xerox executive, and his mother continues to be a family judge and lawyer in the nearby suburb of Waterloo. Separated from each other in 1976, Marilyn and Gordon had 3 other children apart from Philip: daughters Jill and Emily Hoffman, and son Gordy Hoffman.

Philip Hoffman at first wanted to be a wrestler in his teens, but a neck injury forced him to rethink this decision. He then began acting at the Fairport High School, where he was also enrolled as a student. Aged 17, he went to attend the 1984 Theater School at the New York State Summer School of Arts, in Saratoga Springs, New York. Hoffman then followed up this program with the Circle in the Square Theatre's summer program, before going on to graduate as a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) from New York University's Tisch School of Arts.


Hoffman bagged his first major role in the 1992 film Scent of a Woman, alongside popular actors like Al Pacino and Chris O’Donnell. After the success of this movie, Hoffman was offered a variety of roles, which were mostly of support cast. Accepting the offers, Hoffman appeared in supporting roles in movies such as Joey Breaker (1993), Money for Nothing (1993), My Boyfriend’s Back (1993), The Getaway (1994), and When a Man Loves a Woman (1994).

All through these films, Hoffman's performances were well receivd, but from the 1994 movie Nobody’s Fool, his performances touched entirely another level. To support this statement, his performance in Twister (1996) was described as praise-worthy by one and all. The film went on to become one of the biggest blockbusters of the year 1996. People associated with the movie business and several movie buffs even dubbed Hoffman’s role in Twister as being better than the movie itself. In the following years as well, Hoffman mesmerized audiences with his vast range of acting, which was well showcased in movies such as Boogie Nights (1997), The Big Lebowski (1998), Happiness (1998), The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Magnolia (1999).

In the first decade of the new millennium, Hoffman continued to play anchor roles that supported main leads. Films such as Cold Mountain (2003), Owning Mahowny (2003), Along Came Polly (2004), and Mission Impossible III (2006) establish this fact. However, it was his performance in the 2005 biographical film Capote, which earned him some of his best reviews and even an Academy Award for Best Actor that year. By far, this was his best performance in all of his acting career. For this movie, Hoffman prepared intensely for his role of famed writer Truman Capote, whom the movie was based on. Hoffman had this to say to the New York Times, when asked about his preparation for the role: "I knew that it would be great, but I still took the role kicking and screaming. Playing Capote took a lot of concentration. I prepared for four and a half months. I read and listened to his voice and watched videos of him on TV." All the work certainly paid off and in great fashion.

In the latter half of the decade, Hoffman appeared in movies such as Before the Devil knows You’re Dead (2007), Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), Synedoche, New York (2008) and Doubt (2008). In the decade that followed, Hoffman starred in big budget successful films such as The Master (2012) and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), before his untimely death in 2014.


Philip Hoffman breathed his last on February 2, 2014, in West Village, Manhattan, New York. He was found dead in the bathroom of his office premises by his friend, playwright and screenwriter David Bar Katz. Authorities speculated drug overdose as the primary reason of Hoffman’s death, because they found large amounts of Heroin and prescription drugs at his location. Hoffman is survived by his son Cooper Alexander Hoffman, and daughters Tallulah Hoffman and Willa Hoffman, whom he shared with his partner Mimi O’Donnell. 

Philip Seymour Hoffman will be most remebered as an actor who always stole the show, even if he was playing a fringe character.

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