Gone Too Soon: Philip Seymour Hoffman Dead at 46

Philip Seymour Hoffman, photographed by Lindsay Borden at the Fairmont Olympic, Seattle, in 2010.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, photographed by Lindsay Borden at the Fairmont Olympic, Seattle, in 2010.

What devastating news this morning, that Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment of an apparent drug overdose. He was 46. Only 46.

News reports say that he was found with a syringe in his arm and an envelope of what looked like heroin nearby. Hoffman had struggled with addiction and substance abuse earlier in his career, but had been clean for 23 years until he spoke in interviews of “falling off the wagon” last year, reports The New York Times.

Hoffman seemed to have it all: an Oscar for his titular performance in Capote in 2005; the respect of his peers; a busy career with starring roles in complex dramas (The Master, Doubt) and blockbusters alike (he was in the middle of filming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2).

But more importantly, he was a family man with three children — Cooper, 10, Tallulah, 7, and Willa, 5 — and a long-term partner, costume designer Mimi O’Donnell. He was loved. He knew love. That’s what we talked about when I had the pleasure of interviewing Hoffman in 2010 for Seattle Met magazine. He was making his directorial debut with the film Jack Goes Boating, but our conversation turned personal when I told him I was getting married that summer. He lit up and quickly started dispensing relationship advice: “You’ve gotta say I love you a lot and touch each other a lot.” “I cook [my partner Mimi] breakfast a lot, whatever we have in the fridge.” When the story went to print, we titled it “Lover Boy.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman was a gentleman and an amazing talent. I knew him briefly, and superficially, but his memory will live on.

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