Phillip Seymour Hoffman

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On February 2, Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment.

Early evidence, including the syringe found lodged in his arm and the presence of heroin in his home, points to a drug overdose as the cause of the accomplished screen and stage actor’s untimely death.  Hoffman had a history of trouble with drugs and alcohol, including a brief stint in rehab during 2013 for abuse of prescription drugs and heroin.

Hoffman was nominated for four Oscars, winning “Best Actor” in 2005 for his role in Capote.  He excelled in roles in many successful films, including The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Mission Impossible III, The Master, Along Came Polly, Moneyball, and The Big Lebowski.  Hoffman also directed several movies, and was widely respected for his work in theatre.  

At the time of his death, Hoffman was in the process of filming the fourth installment of the Hunger Games series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part Two.  His part was completely done in Part One and close to completion for Part Two, and the film’s directors and producers say they will likely be able to work around the actor’s unfinished work on the project through reworkings of planned scenes and perhaps even CGI (computer generated images). The loss of Hoffman to The Hunger Games is comparable in impact to Paul Walker’s sudden death during the filming of a Fast and Furious film.

His presence will be sorely missed in the film community; Hoffman was one of the premier actors for supporting roles in the last decade of films. He was consistently excellent in secondary roles in movies and was able to add experience and depth to movies which otherwise lacked established middle-aged actors, such as Catching Fire in the fall of 2013.

The circumstances around Hoffman’s death add another layer of meaning to his passing.

MFS teacher Scott Hammer said, “I think his death means more than just a great actor dying.”  

Hammer explained that “Hoffman probably meant a lot to recovering addicts, and to have another person in recovery try and not make it.  It can’t help people going through their own struggle.”  

Phillip Seymour Hoffman was, at the time of his death, going through the recovery process.  Throughout his prominent career, the actor was open and honest concerning his problems with drugs and alcohol and about his stay in the rehab clinic in 2013. His perceived progress, however, ended in a life-claiming relapse, which certainly has the potential to dishearten similarly-situated fans who may have looked to Hoffman, a family man with an excellent reputation, as inspiration to overcome their own problems.

Cover photo used with permission from Wikimedia Commons

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