The sudden death by apparent overdose of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman stunned Hollywood and left his family, friends, and colleagues shattered. In this week’s cover story, EW pays tribute to Hoffman, widely considered the greatest screen and stage actor of his generation.
Film critic Owen Gleiberman traces the arc of the Oscar-winning actor’s tragically curtailed career, exploring his ability, in role after role, to plumb his own depths to bring often deeply flawed characters to vivid life and to “lay bare the things that make people tick” — an emotionally wrenching process that clearly took a personal toll on the actor. We look back at Hoffman’s 10 most essential film performances — including his acclaimed work in movies like Capote, Doubt, and Boogie Nights, as well as lesser-known gems from throughout his career — and look ahead to the various projects he was working on at the time of his death, including the final installments in the Hunger Games franchise.
Director Brett Ratner, a fellow NYU film school student of Hoffman’s who later worked with the actor on the film Red Dragon, contributes a personal remembrance, while other friends and fellow actors and filmmakers offer their own tributes to Hoffman as both an artist and a man. “He was the warmest, most generous person and just overflowing with love and affection for his friends and family,” says actor Todd Louiso, a longtime friend of Hoffman’s who directed him in the 2002 film Love Liza. “I know the past two years have been really rough for him. To find out [about his death] doesn’t really compute to me. It just shows how strong that disease [of addiction] is.”