Philip Seymour Hoffman, an Academy Award-winning actor of astonishing versatility whose distinctive looks and powerful presence made him one of the most critically acclaimed performers of contemporary cinema, was found dead Sunday of an apparent drug overdose. He was 46.
According to police, Hoffman, who had a history of substance abuse, was discovered in his Manhattan apartment by a personal assistant on Sunday morning. An investigation into his death is ongoing.
Born in Fairport, NY, Hoffman graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1989. After guest starring on an episode of Law & Order in 1991, Hoffman appeared in his first major film role in 1992 in Scent of a Woman. In 1996, Hoffman appeared in a supporting role in the blockbuster tornado action flick Twister, and in a small role as a belligerent casino patron in Paul Thomas Anderson’s directorial debut Hard Eight. Hoffman would go on to appear in all but one of Anderson’s six films; in the most recent, The Master, Hoffman earned a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination for his controlled, ambiguous performance as the leader of a religious movement.
Hoffman won his Best Actor Oscar for his performance as the titular author in Capote. In addition to The Master, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Charlie Wilson’s War in 2007 and Doubt in 2008. Most recently, he received critical praise for his performance as the Plutarch Heavensbee, the head gamemaker in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
In addition to his film work, Hoffman was a prolific theater actor, and was nominated for a Tony Award in 2012 for his performance as Willy Loman in a revival of Death of a Salesman. His lone credit as a film director, Jack Goes Boating, was adapted from the stage play of the same name that starred Hoffman in its original run.
He is survived by his longtime partner Mimi O’Donnell and their three children.