In Memoriam: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Films will feel the loss of such a talented, seasoned actor

On Sunday, Feb. 4, Philip Seymour Hoffman dies at 46 years old. He is found with a needle in his arm in his bathroom in Manhattan, N.Y. His death is ruled an accidental drug overdose. This is at 11:30 a.m. The world goes on, and people cheer as the Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos, in the Super Bowl later that day.

Over the past couple years, many celebrities have died before their time. Philip Seymour Hoffman, however, was not a celebrity. He was an entity. He was an actor of a generation. One could not say his name without uttering it in full.

I honestly do not know where I know him from. It could be his hilarious turns in “Boogie Nights” or “The Big Lebowski” or his dramatic and award-winning performances in “Capote,” Charlie Wilson’s “War” or most recently, “The Master.” He was the ultimate scene stealing supporting actor. His presence made movies better. He could be an eternal grump, such as in movies like “Moneyball” or “The Savages.” He could be the complete creep, like in “Doubt.” He could even be a man you cannot help but feel bad for when things turn south, like in “The Ides of March” or “Magnolia.”

But you don’t know him from that, do you? He is Plutarch Heavensbee from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” to teenagers of my generation. When it was reported he had died, people wondered what that meant for the remaining two movies. Even “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” production can’t be stopped when one of its own actors passes away. Philip Seymour Hoffman was more than a gamekeeper, and he was more than a drug addict.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was addicted to drugs before the age of 22. He became clean around that time, but relapsed over 20 years later. Though he sought treatment in May  2013, he was unable to defeat this habit that has taken the lives of so many, especially in these past few years. Does that make him a hero? Probably not. But his careless death was the effect of a long battle with a serious illness, and should not overshadow his illustrious career.

Philip Seymour Hoffman has three movies coming out this year. Two premiered at Sundance just a couple weeks ago. He was in the middle of filming “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” his role in Part 1 already finished. When these movies come out, how will they be perceived? One thing’s for sure, the film industry will never be the same without Philip Seymour Hoffman.

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