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Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hofman. Photo: Georges Biard Philip Seymour Hofman. Photo: Georges Biard

Philip Seymour Hoffman was best known to a wider audience as a screen actor of remarkable intensity and vividness. Nominated three times for a best supporting actor Academy award, he lifted the Oscar for best actor in 2005 for his portrayal of the writer Truman Capote.

But he also made his mark on the stage as both a multi-award-winning actor and an accomplished director. In 1992, Hoffman co-founded the New York-based Labyrinth Theater Company with costume designer Mimi O’Donnell – who was to become his long-time partner and mother to his three children – and remained an active member, directing what was to be his final production for the company, Bob Glaudini’s A Family for All Occasions, in May last year.

With Labyrinth, Hoffman developed a fruitful relationship with the writer Stephen Adly Guirgis, whose Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train he brought to London’s Donmar Warehouse (subsequently transferring to the Arts Theatre) in 2002. The following year, Hoffman directed Guirgis’ Our Lady of 121st Street in New York and The Little Flower of East Orange, starring Ellen Burstyn, in 2008.

Notable onstage appearances included Mark in Mark Ravenhill’s Shopping and Fucking (New York Theatre Workshop, 1998); Konstantin in The Seagull in Mike Nichols’ star-laden open-air production for the New York Shakespeare Festival (2001); the eponymous role in Glaudini’s Jack Goes Boating (Joseph Papp Public Theater, 2007), which Hoffman went on to direct on film in 2010; and Iago for a Peter Sellars-produced Othello in 2009.

He made three appearances on Broadway: in Sam Shepard’s True West, directed by Matthew Warchus (2000); Long Day’s Journey into Night alongside Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Dennehy (2003); and as Willy Loman in Nichols’ 2012 revival of Death of a Salesman. On each occasion, he secured both Tony and Drama Desk award nominations for his performances.

Hoffman’s most recent contribution to British theatre was directing Andrew Upton’s short-lived Riflemind at London’s Trafalgar Studios in 2008.

Born in Fairport, New York, he took a drama degree at the city’s Tisch School of the Arts. Following his onscreen breakthrough in 1992’s Al Pacino-led Scent of a Woman, other film successes included Boogie Nights (1997), The Big Lebowski (1998), Mission: Impossible III (2006) and Moneyball (2011).

Philip Seymour Hoffman was born on July 23, 1967. He was found dead, aged 46, from a suspected heroin overdose in his New York apartment on February 2.

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