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Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead in NYC apartment

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:09 p.m. HST, Feb 02, 2014

NEW YORK >> Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won the Oscar for best actor in 2006 as writer Truman Capote and created a gallery of other vivid characters, many of them slovenly and somewhat dissipated, was found dead Sunday in his apartment with what law enforcement officials said was a needle in his arm. He was 46.

The two officials told The Associated Press that glassine envelopes containing what was believed to be heroin were also found with the actor.

The law enforcement officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk about the evidence, said the cause of death was believed to be a drug overdose.

Hoffman -- no matinee idol, with his lumpy build and limp blond hair -- made his career mostly as a character actor, and was one of the most prolific in the business, plying his craft with a rumpled naturalism that also made him one of the most admired performers of his generation.

The stage-trained actor was nominated for Academy Awards four times in all: for "Capote," ''The Master," ''Doubt" and "Charlie Wilson's War." He also received three Tony nominations for his work on Broadway, which included an acclaimed turn as a weary and defeated Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman."

Hoffman spoke candidly over the years about past struggles with drug addiction. After 23 years sober, he admitted in interviews last year to falling off the wagon and developing a heroin problem that led to a stint in rehab.

Tributes poured in from other Hollywood figures.

"One of the greatest actors of a generation and a sweet, funny & humble man," actor Ricky Gervais tweeted. Director Spike Lee said on Twitter: "Damn, We Lost Another Great Artist."

And Kevin Costner said in an AP interview: "Philip was a very important actor and really takes his place among the real great actors. It's a shame. Who knows what he would have been able to do? But we're left with the legacy of the work he's done and it all speaks for itself."

The law enforcement officials said Hoffman's body was discovered in a bathroom at his Greenwich Village apartment by a friend who made the 911 call and his assistant.

Late Sunday, a police crime-scene van was parked out front, and technicians carrying brown paper bags went in and out. Police kept a growing crowd of onlookers back. A single red daisy had been placed in front of the lobby door.

Hoffman's family called the news "tragic and sudden." Hoffman is survived by his partner of 15 years, Mimi O'Donnell, and their three children.

"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone," the family said in a statement.

In one of his earliest screen roles, he played a spoiled prep school student in "Scent of a Woman" in 1992. One of his breakthroughs came as a gay member of a porno film crew in "Boogie Nights," one of several movies directed by Paul Thomas Anderson that he would eventually appear in.

He often played comic, slightly off-kilter characters in movies like "Along Came Polly," ''The Big Lebowski" and "Almost Famous."

More recently, he was Plutarch Heavensbee in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and was reprising that role in the two-part sequel, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay," which is in the works. And in "Moneyball," he played Art Howe, the grumpy manager of the Oakland Athletics who resisted new thinking about baseball talent.

Just weeks ago, Showtime announced Hoffman would star in "Happyish," a new comedy series about a middle-aged man's pursuit of happiness.

He was nominated for the 2013 Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in "The Master" as the charismatic leader of a religious movement. The film, partly inspired by the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, reunited the actor with Anderson.

He also received a 2009 best-supporting nomination for "Doubt," as a priest who comes under suspicion because of his relationship with a boy, and a best supporting actor nomination for "Charlie Wilson's War," as a CIA officer.

Born in 1967 in Fairport, N.Y., Hoffman was interested in acting from an early age, mesmerized at 12 by a local production of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons." He studied theater as a teenager with the New York State Summer School of the Arts and the Circle in the Square Theatre. He then majored in drama at New York University.

In his Oscar acceptance speech for "Capote," he thanked his mother for raising him and and his three siblings alone, and for taking him to his first play. Hoffman's parents divorced when he was 9.

He could seemingly take on any role, large or small, loathsome or sympathetic, and appeared to be utterly lacking in vanity.

On Broadway, in addition to starring as Willy Loman, he played Jamie in "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and both leads in "True West." All three performances were Tony-nominated.

His 2012 performance in "Death of a Salesman" was praised as "heartbreaking" by AP theater critic Mark Kennedy.

"Hoffman is only 44, but he nevertheless sags in his brokenness like a man closer to retirement age, lugging about his sample cases filled with his self-denial and disillusionment," Kennedy wrote. "His fraying connection to reality is pronounced in this production, with Hoffman quick to anger and a hard edge emerging from his babbling."

Two films starring Hoffman premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival: the espionage thriller "A Most Wanted Man" and "God's Pocket."


Associated Press writer Deepti Hajela and AP National Writer Hillel Italie contributed to this report from New York.

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SteveToo wrote:
Never heard of him or the movies listed. Not a "action hero". RIP
on February 2,2014 | 08:58AM
inverse wrote:
He played a bad guy against Tom Cruise an 'action hero' in one of the Mission Impossible movies. Other than that did not see any of his other movies or realize the guy won an academy award.
on February 2,2014 | 09:16AM
XML808 wrote:
One of my favorite character actors. Unfortunately, his lead in Capote never launch anything substantial since but he was a good actor.
on February 2,2014 | 09:25AM
aomohoa wrote:
He was nominated for Doubt after that. He was brilliant in it.
on February 2,2014 | 11:49AM
aomohoa wrote:
He was actually an amazing actor. How very sad.
on February 2,2014 | 11:48AM
serious wrote:
Me neither, but his death is a good reason why Oscar, or Grammy nominees should get drug tested. Then we'd see how many show up. Same for anyone becoming a candidate for a political office, or the teaching profession.
on February 3,2014 | 05:07AM
krusha wrote:
The first time I noticed his acting was from the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley. Great actor and will be missed.
on February 2,2014 | 09:42AM
retire wrote:
Excellent actor, sorry to see him go.
on February 2,2014 | 10:11AM
bluehawaii21 wrote:
First saw him in Scent of a Woman, and to recent in the Hunger Games, was a great actor that went too soon.
on February 2,2014 | 11:04AM
awahana wrote:
We all have addictions, some are more deadly than others.
Amy Winehouse was the last to suffer a similar addiction fate. The 27 Club.
Only Iron Man actor Robert Downey, Jr. was able to so far successfully overcome his death defying addiction, because his circle of people were able to give him the addiction curing recovery steps that work. People who really cared, and stopped being polite.
on February 2,2014 | 11:08AM
Skyler wrote:
The addict has to want to quit more than they want to breathe, or this (OD) usually happens.
on February 2,2014 | 12:42PM
Skyler wrote:
Just goes to show fame & money doesn't bring happiness.
on February 2,2014 | 11:49AM
Skyler wrote:
oops. Meant to say 'satisfaction' not happiness.
on February 2,2014 | 11:50AM
frontman wrote:
His drug history started with marijuana..........
on February 2,2014 | 11:57AM
aomohoa wrote:
Dumb comment.
on February 2,2014 | 03:39PM
GoldenRule wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on February 2,2014 | 12:06PM
Skyler wrote:
Good for you - and I agree. You don't have to struggle to stop if you never start in the first place.
on February 2,2014 | 12:41PM
TMJ wrote:
I liked his role in Charlie Wilson's War.
on February 2,2014 | 05:05PM
SteveToo wrote:
Same to see anyone die so young, but don't understand all the fuss. He's just another actor. So what? They are not special people, just regular folks w/lots of money and it seems lots of problems.
on February 2,2014 | 06:12PM
SteveToo wrote:
What's the big deal? He's just another joe, Just has more money than the rest of us and it looks like more problems as well.
on February 2,2014 | 06:13PM
WalkoffBalk wrote:
Lost a great actor before his time.
on February 2,2014 | 09:25PM
km1353 wrote:
He will be missed.
on February 3,2014 | 01:24AM
BadBingo wrote:
Fine actor. My favorite role of his was Pirate Radio, a story about Rock 'n roll in the 60s. He will be missed. this was such a useless death.
on February 3,2014 | 07:11AM
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