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Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead in NYC apartment

NEW YORK (AP) - Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won the Oscar for best actor in 2006 as writer Truman Capote and created a gallery of other vivid characters, many of them slovenly and somewhat dissipated, was found dead Sunday in his apartment with what law enforcement officials said was a needle in his arm. He was 46.

The two officials told The Associated Press that glassine envelopes containing what was believed to be heroin were also found with the actor.

The law enforcement officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk about the evidence, said the cause of death was believed to be a drug overdose.

Hoffman - no matinee idol, with his lumpy build and limp blond hair - made his career mostly as a character actor, and was one of the most prolific in the business, plying his craft with a rumpled naturalism that also made him one of the most admired performers of his generation.

The stage-trained actor was nominated for Academy Awards four times in all: for "Capote," ''The Master," ''Doubt" and "Charlie Wilson's War." He also received three Tony nominations for his work on Broadway, which included an acclaimed turn as a weary and defeated Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman."

Hoffman spoke candidly over the years about past struggles with drug addiction. After 23 years sober, he admitted in interviews last year to falling off the wagon and developing a heroin problem that led to a stint in rehab.

Tributes poured in from other Hollywood figures.

"One of the greatest actors of a generation and a sweet, funny & humble man," actor Ricky Gervais tweeted. Director Spike Lee said on Twitter: "Damn, We Lost Another Great Artist."

And Kevin Costner said in an AP interview: "Philip was a very important actor and really takes his place among the real great actors. It's a shame. Who knows what he would have been able to do? But we're left with the legacy of the work he's done and it all speaks for itself."

The law enforcement officials said Hoffman's body was discovered in a bathroom at his Greenwich Village apartment by a friend who made the 911 call and his assistant.

Late Sunday, a police crime-scene van was parked out front, and technicians carrying brown paper bags went in and out. Police kept a growing crowd of onlookers back. A single red daisy had been placed in front of the lobby door.

Hoffman's family called the news "tragic and sudden." Hoffman is survived by his partner of 15 years, Mimi O'Donnell, and their three children.

"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone," the family said in a statement.

In one of his earliest screen roles, he played a spoiled prep school student in "Scent of a Woman" in 1992. One of his breakthroughs came as a gay member of a porno film crew in "Boogie Nights," one of several movies directed by Paul Thomas Anderson that he would eventually appear in.

He often played comic, slightly off-kilter characters in movies like "Along Came Polly," ''The Big Lebowski" and "Almost Famous."

More recently, he was Plutarch Heavensbee in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and was reprising that role in the two-part sequel, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay," which is in the works. And in "Moneyball," he played Art Howe, the grumpy manager of the Oakland Athletics who resisted new thinking about baseball talent.

Just weeks ago, Showtime announced Hoffman would star in "Happyish," a new comedy series about a middle-aged man's pursuit of happiness.

He was nominated for the 2013 Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in "The Master" as the charismatic leader of a religious movement. The film, partly inspired by the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, reunited the actor with Anderson.

He also received a 2009 best-supporting nomination for "Doubt," as a priest who comes under suspicion because of his relationship with a boy, and a best supporting actor nomination for "Charlie Wilson's War," as a CIA officer.

Born in 1967 in Fairport, N.Y., Hoffman was interested in acting from an early age, mesmerized at 12 by a local production of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons." He studied theater as a teenager with the New York State Summer School of the Arts and the Circle in the Square Theatre. He then majored in drama at New York University.

In his Oscar acceptance speech for "Capote," he thanked his mother for raising him and and his three siblings alone, and for taking him to his first play. Hoffman's parents divorced when he was 9.

He could seemingly take on any role, large or small, loathsome or sympathetic, and appeared to be utterly lacking in vanity.

On Broadway, in addition to starring as Willy Loman, he played Jamie in "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and both leads in "True West." All three performances were Tony-nominated.

His 2012 performance in "Death of a Salesman" was praised as "heartbreaking" by AP theater critic Mark Kennedy.

"Hoffman is only 44, but he nevertheless sags in his brokenness like a man closer to retirement age, lugging about his sample cases filled with his self-denial and disillusionment," Kennedy wrote. "His fraying connection to reality is pronounced in this production, with Hoffman quick to anger and a hard edge emerging from his babbling."

Two films starring Hoffman premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival: the espionage thriller "A Most Wanted Man" and "God's Pocket."


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Jim and Sandy February 19 2014 at 8:49 PM

I'm sorry, but what has PH done to deserve the publicity he's received? My God, he's received more PR than JFK did when he was assassinated. Sorry for his untimely death, but he's a nobody.

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Charmelle2 February 03 2014 at 8:36 PM

Some say they don't understand how people with everything can do these things to their family- Let's see:
1. Person gets pain meds for some type of bad pain...surgery, wreck, migraines, orthopedic problems, etc- SADLY many get OXY...or other type OPIATE
2. Person eventually can't get more of same Rx..so Dr urges person to get into "Pain Management"..which of course is a big JOKE..b/c it does NOT work
3. Eventually the person can no longer get the RX from Dr...so Pain Management supposedly WEANS person down with ADDICTIVE "ORAL" HEROIN..called SUBOXIN (Drs claiming it's SO MUCH SAFER than OXY)...Truth IS...It really IS an Outright Nightmare
4. Eventually the person realizes REHAB might be best..particularily a Rehab that GIVES SUBUTEX...OR METHADONE- These Psychoactives keeping the addiction alive-
5. After numerous TRIES of various ways to KICK the Opiate Addiction (often started with Rx from Dr's Ofc or from Hosp Drs)..then person turns to maybe buying Suboxin wherever it can be obtained..UNLESS person is fotunate enough to get Suboxin Rx from a Suboxin Dr.. (ORAL HEROIN)..then maybe try Rehab again IF the rehab gives Subutex (or maybe Methadone)-
6 Eventually the person finds out that ORAL HEROIN/Suboxin has become Harder to Get..& IV Heroin (dangerous as it is)..is MUCH CHEAPER- (tho sadly some of it is tainted with drugs that make overdosing much easier to happen)-
Our Government needs to WAKE UP to this epidemic..& start helping victims of such bad addictions & help stop this deadly cycle..by admitting that HOLISTIC WAYS of DETOX are the WAY to go..(just as our Pentagon & Military Depts of US..also Canada's & Europe's Military depts insist on this New School Holistic Addiction treatment-
It's EASY to understand why our Military Depts & the Pentagon have EMDR & Rapid Trauma Resolution at the top of their lists for Trauma & Addiction Treatment- Easy to understand b/c they do NOT want Psychoactive agents going into their military people- Easy to understand that the Military's insisting on New School Trauma Therapy shows they want only the BEST for their people..& know that DRUGGED People are NOT productive & may never get over their grave PTSD if they stay drugged-
SO many Military War wounded soldiers become Addicts due to such grave injuries requiring longterm Big Gun Pain Meds- Therefore our military & pentagon KNOW (so should support for all)..the wonderful healing abilities of EMDR & RTR..(Rapid Trauma Resolution)- Most often..it's PTSD that gives the grave need for Trauma Therapy..making Detox a joke unless the Pains of the Past get moved aside by one of the above mentioned New School Trauma Therapies- This talented actor is one more example of how easy it is to become a Heroin Addict today- Many parents have no clue of how dangerous it is to give ADHD meds to very young children- The young brains are being TAUGHT to Function & Handle Stress with DRUGS- Now RTR can RETEACH the brain to handle stress in HEALTHY ways withOUT meds-

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Gregory February 03 2014 at 6:53 PM

Rest in peace, Mr. Hoffman.

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wacatomi.granite February 03 2014 at 6:45 PM

YOU ARE and WAS the BEST LEADER ever in the BO time! -- Canada should be ashamed. I so am emailing International Health Medical Identity and Securities, someone, even at the International Transit should be financially helping in this manner. Besides, some things are worth passing on without a rerun. To one of the best WRITERS and DIRECTORS ever! -- Thanks, especially over growing Kevin Smith and Michael Moore! EMAILING REELZ! From a REAL fan, thanks. Praying your passing is smoothe!!

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pmlashomb February 03 2014 at 4:03 PM

HE WAS A VERY GOOD ACTOR .

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sindfetish February 03 2014 at 3:02 PM

AMAZING...the AMOUNT of people STILL unaware of THE DISEASE addiction is. Replace "heroin" "addiction" or "habit" "Choice" etc. in describing what happened with Hoffman with the word "CANCER" or any or other deadly disease that some PEOPLE ARE BORN WITH and you will start to get it.

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sequestereddems February 03 2014 at 11:32 PM

people arent born with a needle in their arm.

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Dennis February 03 2014 at 1:40 PM

If anyone reads this blog than they will identify!!! They ill identify with the nasty (my opinion only) people, they will identify with the religious type people, they will identify with the anti-religious type people. They will all have their say and in the end nothing will change!! Just like our Government!! Lot's of clammer between parties and I am getting poorer and poorer! I wish I could do something to change the way this country is working but as I see everyone has an opinion and no one actually looks at the reason behind why we are a sick nation. corporations are selling our futures away

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sindfetish February 03 2014 at 2:57 PM

A favor I and MANY ask: Please keep comments relative to the article being discussed. Thank You.

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mfkulaski February 03 2014 at 1:04 PM

So sorry about the loss of this wonderful actor and person, and at such a young age.

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Dennis February 03 2014 at 12:27 PM

To Self Medicate??? definition? To relieve pain. Advil, Musinex, ibuprofen, Icy Hot, preparation H, Dr. shoals medicated foot bath, Bayer baby aspirin, a hot bath an ice bath, Claritin. From the time we enter this world we and our parents are told over and over again that their is a cure (medication) that will make us feel better. We grow up watching the commercials that confirm that if we are in pain or suffering that there is a pill out there to make us feel better!! Some of us in early pubescence discover Alcohol and or weed (both illegal), oh not actually today! Wow do these drugs make us feel better!!! Afraid to talk to that girl? Have a drink :) Afraid to dance take two hits of this joint :) Feeling kind of high-strung snort this Heroin. Remember how you were taught to take medicine to feel better? Is it any wonder why so many have died trying to stop their pain by self medicating? Just sayin

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1 reply to Dennis's comment
suzanm4 February 03 2014 at 12:56 PM

Dennis, you are more right than the Republican Dan Crabtree. It is our corporations that are out to kill us.
Do they every stop to think that one day we will all be dead and then WHO will buy their products. If the fracking water does not posion us first!!! We are all just comodities who buy their stuff.

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Susan February 03 2014 at 12:23 PM

He was a wonderful actor! I enjoyed watching moveis that he was in. This is such a tragedy and a great loss. My heart goes out to his children and family.

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