Philip Seymour Hoffman Found Dead at 46 of Apparent Overdose

Philip Seymour Hoffman Found Dead at 46 of Apparent Overdose

Actor bounced easily between playing weak and strong men, in indie films and blockbusters

Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Oscar-winning actor who played broken men and intellectual bullies with equal aplomb, was found dead of an apparent drug overdose in his Manhattan apartment Sunday, according to multiple media reports. He was 46.

Several outlets cited a police source who said Hoffman was found with a syringe in his arm. Last year, the actor reportedly underwent a 10-day detox for heroin and prescription drug abuse. He gave up drinking and drugs in the early 1990s, before becoming famous for his roles in films like “Boogie Nights,” “The Master,” and “Capote,” the 2005 film for which he won his Oscar.

In 2006, he told “60 Minutes” he nearly succumbed to substance abuse after graduating from New York University's drama school, but got sober in rehab.

“It was anything (drugs and alcohol) I could get my hands on…I liked it all,”  he told “60 Minutes” as the time.

Also read: Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2014 (Photos)

The New York Police Department is investigating with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine exact cause of death. He was found in his West Village apartment.

Reached by TheWrap, a police spokesman said there would be no confirmation of the identity of the deceased pending notification of the family.

After small film and television roles, Hoffman broke out in a series of Paul Thomas Anderson films, beginning with Anderson's debut, “Hard Eight,” in 1996. The next year, he played a portly gay men who pines after Mark Wahlberg‘s porn star, Dirk Diggler, in “Boogie Nights.” The next year he appeared in Todd Solondz's “Happiness” as a man who makes obscene phone calls to a neighbor. And in 1999's “Magnolia,” he played a kindly nurse who in one scene had to order pornographic magazines over the phone.

See Photos:  22 of Philip Seymour Hoffman's Most Memorable Movie Roles

In another scene, he helps reunite his dying patient with his estranged son, played by Tom Cruise. His character calls a total stranger who might be able to unite them, acknowledging that it feels like a scene in a movie.

“I know that I might sound ridiculous, like this is the scene in the movie where the guy's trying to get a hold of the long-lost son, you know — but this is that scene,” he says in “Magnolia.” “This is that scene. And I think they have those scenes in movies because they're true. Because they really happen. And you've got to believe me: This is really happening.”

It felt like it really was.

Hoffman's soft face and features could conjure the sense of being wounded, or the scowling resentment of a man refocusing his injuries toward revenge. He turned on the nasty for films like “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” in which he played a snobby WASP abroad, and “Mission Impossible III,” in which he served as the cold, brutish nemesis to Tom Cruise‘s Ethan Hunt.

In his role as Truman Capote, for which he won the Best Actor Oscar in 2005, he played a man in a postition of weakness — a effete homosexual in ramrod straight, rural Kansas –who used his supreme intellect to manipulate everyone around him. The role perfectly combined all of his strengths.

Also read: Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman: A Fearless Artist, Taken Too Soon

He struck a similar balance in 2012's “The Master,” his last collaboration with Anderson. He played an L. Ron Hubbard-like author who brilliantly controlled his followers while desperately protecting his new religion from allegations that it was all bull. One moment, he charmed a room. The next, he sat behind bars. His empire expanded across the world, even as his closest followers came to see through his lies.

His unimpeachable acting soon made him a sought-after actor when a blockbuster needed an injection of indie earthiness. He was easily the most memorable villain in the “Mission Impossible” films, and a creepy presence in the “Hunger Games” and its sequel, “Catching Fire.” It was unclear at the time of his death whether he had shot any scenes for “Mockingjay,” the next film in the series.

Hoffman was to highlight his comedic talents in a new Showtime comedy-drama, “Happyish,” about an ad man trying to adjust to life in the age of branding and micro-messaging. In a preview shown to critics last month, he played a man so overwhelmed by the selling out all around him that he fought to keep the Keebler elves from being replaced in an ad campaign — forgetting that they, too, exist to sell cookies.

Showtime had filmed only a pilot for the series, raising doubts about whether it will ever be seen by the public.

Also read: Philip Seymour Hoffman Dead: Hollywood Reacts to the Actor's Shocking Passing

Born in Fairport, N.Y., to a judge and civil rights activist and a Xerox executive, he attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. After graduating, he checked into rehab, and soon after began his remarkable run of roles. He returned to his upstate New York roots in 2008's “Synecdoche, New York.”

His long list of other acclaimed roles included turns in “Before the Devil Knows You're Dead,” “Punch-Drunk Love,”"Almost Famous,” “25th Hour,” “The Savages,” “Doubt,” and “Moneyball.” He also directed and starred in 2010's “Jack Goes Boating.”

He is survived by his partner, Mimi O'Donnell, and three children.

Watch Hoffman in “that scene” from “Magnolia”:

  • Jesus Christ


    This is really sad. Oscar better pay tribute to him.

  • J.M.C .

    my prayers and thoughts go out to his family and loved ones

  • Danielle Michelle

    So incredibly talented…. will miss him immensely. So sorry he couldn't find solace here, may he find peace with God.

    • Genise Last

      I highly doubt there are drug addicts in heaven!!

      • james navarro

        …or judgemental, self-righteous morons (hint Genise).

        • Genise Last

          Yep that would be me!!!

          • james navarro

            There's only room for one supreme judge in the universe and thank Him it's not the likes of you or we'd all be in serious trouble. “judge not, lest you be judged!” “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Yes, G, that means that as perfect as you are in comparison to a drug addict, you still need to repent and receive forgiveness, especially knowing that God is WWAAAAAYYYY more perfect than you are of Mr. Hoffman, who, by the way, paid THE price sufficient to deserve no more harsh judgements from anyone. “God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy.”

        • Genise Last

          He chose to put that needle in his arm! These stars have it all and end their own lives with drugs instead of seeking help now all of a sudden he was the greatest man to live! Not! He had demons and chose heroin as an escape after 22 years of being clean.

          • Someone

            Drug addiction is not a choice, it is a disease. If you have never known anyone that suffered from addiction then you have no idea what you are talking about. Sure, it may look like he chose to put the needle in his arm, but the truth is he could not have made the choice not to without a lot of help, and until he got to the point that he could overcome the addiction enough to ask for that help he would resist the help just a little stronger than he desired it.

            I have never been an addict, but I have tried to help an addicted family member, and through that came to a point where I now work with addicts and to judge them in such a harsh light as that you believe they are going to hell is not all that different than judging any other mentally ill person for their illness.

            It is people like you that pushed people like me away from organized religion. If the God you believe in is what God is than I want no parts of Him because that God is no better than the alternative and we'd all be better off in Hell.

          • Genise Last

            Hd was ckean for 22 years abd all of a sudden Chose to pick up that needle! Im not judging him no more than you are judging me!! Get over it. A fact is not everyone goes to heaven and im tired of hearing about someone that dies doing something wrong ends up in heaven, i dont believe they all go! I have an opinion just as you did! Get over it!

  • Trish Chasity

    Disgusted but definitely broken hearted . Drug addiction and depression are no joke. You lost your faith in your self God and lost an incredible fight with the devil. RIP Phillip.

  • homiedclown

    Tell me again… who needs drugs?

  • Texas fan

    Hoffman has THREE CHILDREN and he's shooting dope in his arm? What a fucking idiot. I loved his performance in “Almost Famous.” Stupid, stupid, stupid. All that talent, all that money, and he has to use dope? What an IDIOT.

    • michael

      your a cold harted

      • hennylou

        You're the idiot for actually believing that money buys happiness. Statistics show that people with money and fame are more likely to use and abuse than the rest of us. Addiction is a disease and it is often hereditary. Most addicts are already born with an addictive personality and when you add an unlimited access of money to that equation, the chances of abuse become even higher. Not to mention the fact that celebs often have a team of people around them who enable the abuse foe fear that if they say something they will be given the boot. Most chronic addicts do not even get high anymore after using, they only use out of habit and to feel “normal.” We can't blame people for suffering from addiction no more than we can blame one who suffers from depression or schizophrenia. It is an illness that if not caught early and treated properly will result in a lifetime of misery and suffering and often death. I feel so sorry that Seymour was suffering on the inside his entire life with his addictions as well as his struggle for sobriety. It just goes to show no matter how much money, fame, or power you have, none of that matters if you are battling internal demons.

        • Jeff

          people like you enable his behavior. nobody is born an addict unless his mom was shooting up, but then he'd be a functioning retarded addict. its a learned habit stemming from poor choices, nothing more. Sure, some people may be more prone to addiction when they try something than others, but anyone who makes the decision to put a needle in their arm and pump it full of heroin everything that happens after that is their own damn fault. I understand people make mistakes and poor choices, but everyone knows the chance you're taking when doping up on heroin. it certainly isn't hereditary.

          • kindred Spendelvick, MD

            Addictive traits are unfortunately more genetic than people realize. Does that mean all these people become heroin addicts… absolutely not, and not all addicts are users because of heredity. Addiction comes on many forms, some people choose to shop, some choose to gamble and others can even be addicted to work. Unless you have studied addiction and are an expert on the subject it is not wise to interject your personal opinion with the facts, and that the fact is ADDICTION IS A DISEASE. Ask any expert and they will tell you the same thing.

  • moas

    this goes to show, without God and faith in your life things can get very and a short list of sincere friends are the key to keeping your life in balance…may God have mercy on his soul and i wish his family peace in the tough days ahead.

  • H K Amalgamented Industries IV

    That was nearly a shock. At first I thought Phillip Seymore Hainsworth Hoffman passed away. People really do need more names to thoroughly identify themselves. This poor chap had but three. Sad situation.

  • spike

    it's sad that he chose to go. what kind of guilt was he escaping from?

  • e

    pretty sure God doesn't have an issue with drug addicts. he was the most diverse actor I have ever scene. not like shitty tom cruise or ben stiller or Keanu reeves who play the same people day after day. yeah the substance got him first. what's your vice? shouldn't talk shit about this guy who recognized his problems. addiction is a life long struggle and he lost.

    • Barnaby Jones

      I agree. Drug addicts at one point disgusted me. I could never figure out why someone would want to live that type of lifestyle. And then I found out my mom was an addict and had been for 30 years! She hid it from us so well but finally admitted how she struggled her whole life to get clean. So the next time you want to judge an addict just think about the ones you love the most and pray it never afflicts them. How would you feel then when people were as heartless and cruel to your wife, husband, son, sister , dad or whoever you love as you watch them struggle with it.

  • Jim

    A well known artist shared with me and others the ongoing perils of an addiction. He
    concluded (in regard to his addiction)..”you can get the monkey off your back – but not
    the monkey's ghost”.