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Philip Seymour Hoffman

Hoffman at the 81st Academy Awards in February 2009
Born July 23, 1967 (1967-07-23) (age 42)
Rochester, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor/Theater director
Years active 1991 – present
Domestic partner(s) Mimi O'Donnell (1999-present)

Philip Seymour Hoffman (born July 23, 1967) is an American actor and theatre director. Hoffman began acting in television in 1991, and the following year started to appear in films. He gradually gained recognition for his supporting work in a series of notable films, including Scent of a Woman (1992), Boogie Nights (1997), The Big Lebowski (1998), Magnolia (1999), The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Almost Famous (2000), 25th Hour (2002), and Cold Mountain (2003).

In 2005, Hoffman played the title role in the biographical film Capote (2005), for which he won multiple acting awards including an Academy Award for Best Actor. He also received two Academy Award nominations for his supporting work in Charlie Wilson's War (2007) and Doubt (2008), respectively. Other critically acclaimed films in recent years have included Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007), The Savages (2007), and Synecdoche, New York (2008).

Hoffman is also an accomplished theatre actor and director. He joined the LAByrinth Theater Company in 1995, and has directed and performed in numerous Off-Broadway productions. His performances in two Broadway plays led to two Tony Award nominations: one for Best Leading Actor in True West (2000), and another for Best Featured Actor in Long Day's Journey into Night (2003).


Early life

Hoffman was born in Rochester, New York, the son of Marilyn L. O'Connor, a family court judge, lawyer and civil rights activist, and Gordon S. Hoffman, a former Xerox executive.[1] He has two sisters, Jill and Emily, and a brother, Gordy Hoffman, who scripted the 2002 film Love Liza, in which Philip starred. His father was a Protestant of German ancestry and his mother was of Irish Catholic background - Hoffman was not raised with a deep commitment to either religious tradition.[2][3][4] Hoffman's parents divorced when he was nine years old.[5] His first acting role was as Radar O'Reilly in Fairport High School's production of M*A*S*H in 1982.[citation needed]

Hoffman attended the 1984 Theater School at the New York State Summer School of the Arts. After high school, Hoffman attended the Circle in the Square Theatre's summer program, continuing his acting training with the acting teacher Mr. Alan Langdon.[6] He received a BFA in drama in 1989 from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. At NYU, he was a founding member of the notoriously short-lived and volatile theater company the Bullstoi Ensemble with actor Steven Schub and director Bennett Miller.[7] Soon after graduating, he went to rehab for drug and alcohol addiction and has since remained sober.[8]

Film and television work

Hoffman in 2002
Hoffman on the set of Jack Goes Boating (2010) in May 2009

Hoffman's first role was as a defendant in a 1991 episode of the television series Law & Order. He made his film breakthrough in 1992 when he appeared in four feature films, with the most successful film being Scent of a Woman, in which he played a rather unscrupulous classmate of Chris O'Donnell's character. He had been stocking shelves at a city grocery store at the time before landing the role and credits the film to kickstarting his career.

Hoffman has established a successful and respected film career playing diverse and idiosyncratic characters in supporting roles, working with a wide variety of noted directors, including Todd Solondz, The Coen Brothers, Spike Lee, Cameron Crowe, David Mamet, Robert Benton, Anthony Minghella and Paul Thomas Anderson; notably, he has appeared in four out of five of Anderson's feature films to date (Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Punch-Drunk Love).

He appeared in Last Party 2000, a documentary about the 2000 U.S. elections. Throughout his career he has rarely been given a chance to play the lead role. In 2002, however, Hoffman starred as a widower coping with his wife's suicide in Love Liza, for which his brother, Gordy Hoffman, wrote the screenplay. In 2003, he played the lead role in Owning Mahowny as a bank employee who embezzles money to feed his gambling addiction.

Hoffman has continued to play supporting roles in such films as Cold Mountain, as a carnally obsessed preacher, Along Came Polly, as Ben Stiller's crude has-been actor buddy, and Mission: Impossible III, as villainous arms dealer Owen Davian out to kill Ethan Hunt. Hoffman has played a wide range of roles such as: gay characters (Boogie Nights, Flawless and Capote), over-indulgent rich folk (Scent of a Woman, Patch Adams and The Talented Mr. Ripley), caring and nurturing figures (Magnolia and Almost Famous), vicious thugs (Punch-Drunk Love and Mission: Impossible III), sensitive artists (State and Main and Synecdoche, New York), an outlandish CIA officer (Charlie Wilson's War), and a lonely, sex-obsessed pervert (Happiness).

He received his first Emmy Award nomination for the HBO miniseries Empire Falls, but lost to castmate and personal idol Paul Newman. One of Hoffman's earliest roles was as a police deputy who gets punched in the face by Newman in 1994's Nobody's Fool.

In 2005, Hoffman won widespread acclaim for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote in the film Capote. His performance received numerous high-profile accolades and awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture, and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. In addition, he was also awarded Best Actor by at least ten film critic associations, including the National Board of Review, Toronto Film Critics, and Los Angeles Film Critics.

In 2007, Hoffman was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for playing Gust Avrakotos, a CIA officer who helps Congressman Charlie Wilson support a covert war in Afghanistan in the movie Charlie Wilson's War. In 2008, he was also nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the same role, which he lost to Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men.

In 2008, he appeared in Synecdoche, New York, in which he played Caden Cotard, a man who attempts to build a full-scale replica of New York inside a warehouse for a play, and Doubt, in which he played Father Brendan Flynn, a priest accused of sexually abusing a student. He received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for the latter. He also received a second consecutive nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Doubt.

Personal life

Hoffman is in a relationship with costume designer Mimi O'Donnell. They met while working on the 1999 play In Arabia We'd All Be Kings, which Hoffman directed. They have a son, Cooper Alexander, born in March 2003, and two daughters, Tallulah, born in November 2006,[9] and Willa, born in October 2008.[10]


Year Film Role Other notes
1991 Triple Bogey on a Par Five Hole Klutch
1992 Szuler
My New Gun Chris
Leap of Faith Matt
Scent of a Woman George Willis, Jr.
1993 Joey Breaker Wiley McCall
My Boyfriend's Back Chuck Bronski
Money for Nothing Cochran
1994 The Getaway Frank Hansen
The Yearling Buck TV
When a Man Loves a Woman Gary
Nobody's Fool Officer Raymer
1995 The Fifteen Minute Hamlet Bernardo, Horatio & Laertes
1996 Hard Eight Young Craps Player
Twister Dustin "Dusty" Davis
1997 Boogie Nights Scotty J.
1998 Culture Bill
Montana Duncan
Next Stop Wonderland Sean
The Big Lebowski Brandt
Happiness Allen Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor
Patch Adams Mitch Roman
1999 Flawless Rusty Zimmerman San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role - Motion Picture
Magnolia Phil Parma Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor
The Talented Mr. Ripley Freddie Miles
2000 Titanic 2000 Himself
State and Main Joseph Turner White
Almost Famous Lester Bangs Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
2002 Love Liza Wilson Joel
Punch-Drunk Love Dean Trumbell Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Red Dragon Freddy Lounds
25th Hour Jacob Elinsky
2003 Owning Mahowny Dan Mahowny Chlotrudis Award for Best Actor
Cold Mountain Reverend Veasey
2004 Along Came Polly Sandy Lyle
2005 Strangers with Candy Henry, Board Of Education
Empire Falls Charlie Mayne TV Miniseries
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Capote Truman Capote Academy Award for Best Actor
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role - Motion Picture
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association for Best Actor
2006 Mission: Impossible III Owen Davian Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
2007 Before the Devil Knows You're Dead Andy Hanson Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast
The Savages Jon Savage Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Charlie Wilson's War Gust Avrakotos Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
2008 Synecdoche, New York Caden Cotard Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Doubt Father Brendan Flynn Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture
2009 Mary and Max Max Jerry Horovitz voice only
The Boat That Rocked The Count US Alternate Title: Pirate Radio
The Invention of Lying Bartender Uncredited
2010 Jack Goes Boating Jack Director/Executive Producer


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