It is a bittersweet day today, as the film world remembers Philip Seymour Hoffman on what would have been his 47th birthday. His life was cut short by the misuse of drugs, and we cannot revile him for the choices he made, as we don't know the personal demons he fought in his life. However, we can appreciate him for the superb artist he was, and how he contributed to the world of entertainment in ways no one thought possible.
Hoffman was raised primarily by his mother (whose efforts he mentioned in detail when he won an Academy Award for Best Actor). He found his love of acting when he was 12-years-old after seeing Arthur Miller's All My Sons
. This sparked Hoffman's interest in acting, and nearly four decades later, he would receive some of his greatest reviews for his performance in another Miller play, Death of a Salesman
Hoffman starred in nearly 60 films over his 22-year career, all of them exhibiting a brilliant, dedicated actor so passionate about his craft. He hardly found success in leading roles - that was until Capote
came along and gave Hoffman the opportunity to emerge from the dreaded kingdom of character actors and take centre stage, and from there he stole the show every single time he was on screen. He managed to culminate four Academy Award nominations for his great work in Charlie Wilson's War
, The Master
, for which he won.
Hoffman was one of those rare actors who could juggle mainstream drama, indie comedies and blockbuster franchises with absolutely no effort at all. It was perhaps his work with Paul Thomas Anderson that got Hoffman noticed. His performance as a fragile, good-hearted caretaker in Magnolia
, or his intense but hilarious performance in Punch-Drunk-Love
that got Hoffman his great and hopefully legendary career.
Hoffman transcended medium - he was able to perform on film, stage and television. Along with his four Academy Award nominations and one win, he also culminated three Tony Awards. He was also set to star in Happyish
, a Showtime comedy that would have seen Hoffman in a central role.
However sad it makes all of us feel that he is no longer with us, he is truly gone - his films still live on, and he has four films coming out in the next two years, including the final two Hunger Games
films and A Most Wanted Man
, which is being released this Friday.
Hoffman was a true titan of acting. He was absolutely brilliant in everything he endeavored, and he never once gave a lazy or half-hearted performance. He made an effort to give his best, and it just so happens his best was absolutely brilliant. He will be missed, but for every film fan, his passion and dedication will live on until the end of time in our hearts and on our screens.
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