News emerged today that actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his apartment apparently from a drug overdose. He had a history of drug and alcohol addiction. He was just 46 years old.
Hoffman was a great actor, willing to take risks with roles. I have seen many films with him in a starring role or in a minor one and I cannot recall a single one in which he was anything but good. He just made any film better.
For an actor who was at the peak of his profession and who always seemed so affable in his demeanor to be so dependent on drugs shows how little we know about what is really going on in people’s lives, the stresses and strains that they experience and the personal demons that they struggle with.
I tried to think of what clip of a film of his would be best to show but honestly found it hard to pick just one. However there is one little-known film of his that I found to be excellent and can highly recommend and that is Flawless (1999). Hoffman plays the part of a singer and drag queen who is trying to earn enough money for a sex-change operation. Robert De Niro is an ultraconservative, homophobic, hard-boiled ex-policeman who suffers a stroke that impairs his speech. He is urged to hire a singing coach as part of his rehabilitation therapy and he hires Hoffman who lives in his same apartment building. The dynamic between these two excellent actors makes the film.
Here’s the trailer.