The needle and the damage done: Philip Seymour Hoffman died

February 2, 2014 • 12:16 pm

Good God, is it possible? I just got this bulletin from CNN:

Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has been found dead of an apparent drug overdose in his Manhattan apartment, law enforcement sources said Sunday.

Hoffman received the Academy Award for best actor in the film “Capote.”

He was 46.

His death, but not the cause, was verified by the New York Times. The New York Post, however, reports that his body was found with a needle in his arm.  Hoffman had been in rehab, and had earlier admitted to “substance abuse.”

He was nominated for three Academy Awards, and won the “best actor” award for his fantastic performance in “Capote”, which you must see if you haven’t. I recently saw him in “The Master”—also a great performance.  I wish he’d stuck to something like marijuana: it’s too much talent gone too early for a lousy reason.

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33 thoughts on “The needle and the damage done: Philip Seymour Hoffman died

  1. I’d like to think that, with a rational approach to drug abuse that included decriminalization and no-cost no-hassles no-stigma access to medical treatment for substance abuse and other forms of mental illness, these sorts of tragedies would be much rarer.

    b&

  2. I had no idea he had any issues with drugs. He was a great actor, The Big Lebowski, Doubt, Synechdoche New York, Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Almost Famous. He has worked in some very good films.

  3. The problem with street drugs is that you can never get the dosage right. Not enough makes you try a little more which sooner or later is too much.
    So sad.

    1. You would think the Hollywood elite could get the good stuff though – if heroin were legal and regulated, he might still be alive. Hell, he might not even have been an addict. 🙁

  4. Fantastic actor. He will be missed.

    I just don’t understand that first moment when someone decides, “Yeah! Let’s inject heroin!” Why can’t people just stick with marijuana?

    Keep in mind too that prohibition also contributed to his death. After all, heroin can be cut with other dangerous substances (like fentanyl), a consequence of the illegality of heroin (i.e., no quality control).

    1. Agree. Nobody could legitimately say “Philip Seymour Hoffman’s a great actor, sure — but he always plays ‘Philip Seymour Hoffman.'”

      What with this and and the stuff on Woody Allen, the Hollywood Dream Factory is giving me nightmares.

  5. I still remember wanting to know what kind of actor he was after watching Happiness–even of all the interesting individuals in that movie. Turns out, he was a great actor. Very sad to see him go.

  6. I just found out too – what a senseless bummer. I can’t judge him for his drug addiction – I am not in his shoes and I don’t know why he felt he needed to traverse that path. I do know it is way too soon….god…I loved him in Magnolia as well as Boogie Nights – he was able to portray fragility in a way that made you fall in love with him. I am saddened that we will never see him in a new character. Gods damn it.

  7. I just saw this news. I am . . . what a stupid loss. He did some very good work, but he hadn’t done his best yet–there was all the work he would have done, realizing advancing middle and old age with the tenderness and acuity that he always brought to his roles.

  8. What an awful shame to hear this. He was phenomenal in “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” After that performance, anything he did was worth paying attention to. A loss on a par with the death of the great Heath Ledger.

  9. A great shame, he was truly gifted.
    I’m not sure if more info has come in yet, but if our only source of the “drug overdose” is Murdoch’s barely fit for toilet paper rag the New York Post, I shall reserve judgement.

  10. Great actor, his performance in Synecdoche New York was brilliant, and he was great in The Master despite not being able to save the film. Even his performance in Boogie Nights was probably the most memorable of the film despite only being a bit player. I’ll have to watch Capote soon. A loss for Hollywood.

    In terms of the drug overdose, I’m reminded of Philip K Dick’s words on the end credits of A Scanner Darkly, about people being punished entirely too much for what they did. A tragic waste.

  11. First thing I thought of was his performance in Capote. I had no idea he won an Oscar for that.

    He is incredible in that movie!

  12. As Jim Carrey put it. “For the most sensitive among us the noise can be too much.” He was a great talent and a very sensitive actor with a taste for his roles. His appearances in Synecdoche New York and Capote were stunning.

    1. People in the performing arts do seem to be particularly susceptible to harming themselves with recreational drugs. I wonder if anybody is studying this. It could give us clues to all sorts of mental health issues.

      Of course, given that so many of those in power think the way to deal with drug issues is to lie about the effects and lock up as many of the users as possible, it may be that no one could do an honest investigation into this.

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