April 19, 2024

Philip Seymour Hoffman: The death of an every character man
By Maggi Quigley
Broadway dimmed its lights for one minute this past Wednesday in commemoration of the late great actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman was a man of the silver screen as well as the stage, starring and acting in countless plays and films. The star was found dead Feb. 2 in his Manhattan apartment, his death being attributed to heroin.
A long list of costars and fellow industry friends have openly written tributes to the actor, speaking highly of his talent, and condemning the sad early end to his life. Gwyneth Paltrow, co star in “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” wrote “Philip was a true genius.” Other co-stars were quick to do the same. Jena Malone, a co-star in “The Hunger Games,” wrote a tribute on her Instagram saying, “There won’t ever be enough flowers in the world to shower you with once you are lost to me…then one day we don’t wake up. I don’t want to wait for that day to bring you flowers. I want you to know I love you today. That you inspire me. That I am here for you. Cause maybe you haven’t been reminded of your beauty in a long time. And all it takes is one person to reach out and be a mirror. Can we all just be a mirror and go out of our way everyday to support the human heart. That can go blind from too much beauty. Can we just try? #RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman”
However the one tribute that took media by storm was written by Aaron Sorkin, a long time friend of Hoffman, and fellow addict. Sorkin met Hoffman at the reading for “Charlie Wilsons War” and instantly bonded with the actor over their common struggle.
Sorkin wrote in an open tribute to Time Magazine that “Phil Hoffman and I had two things in common. We were both fathers of young children, and we were both recovering drug addicts.”
Sorkin goes on to say, “On breaks during rehearsals, we would sometimes slip outside our soundstage on the Paramount lot and get to swapping stories. It’s not unusual to have these mini-AA meetings — people like us are the only ones to whom tales of insanity don’t sound insane.”
Probably the most haunting part of the piece comes when Sorkin writes about a conversation him an Hoffman had in one of their mini meetings. Sorkin wrote, “[Hoffman said] ‘If one of us dies of an overdose, probably 10 people who were about to won’t.’ He meant that our deaths would make news and maybe scare someone clean.”
Sorkin continued, “Phil Hoffman, this kind, decent, magnificent, thunderous actor, who was never outwardly “right” for any role but who completely dominated the real estate upon which every one of his characters walked, did not die from an overdose of heroin — he died from heroin. We should stop implying that if he’d just taken the proper amount then everything would have been fine.”

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