I was shocked to read that one of the greatest actors of our generation, Philip Seymour Hoffman, had passed away today from an apparent drug overdose in New York City.
I first remember seeing Hoffman in Magnolia back in 1999. He played Phil Parma, nurse to the dying Jason Robards. He brought compassion to the role and in many ways he upstaged Tom Cruise during the film’s pivotal moments. When Hoffman starred in Almost Famous, he brought Lester Bangs to life. “Iggy Pop, amen!” I loved him in that movie. And just recently I watched Pirate Radio again and was reminded of his great portrayal of The Count, the sole American on the pirate radio ship in the North Sea.
He brought so much emotion and life to his characters. He was truly an actor’s actor. It’s horrific to think that he leaves behind such young children who will grow up without their father, and without knowing why he died the way he did.
Why is it that Hollywood is full of such tragedies? Why is it that sports stars must submit drug tests in order to play their sport, but actors don’t need to submit drug tests to perform? Recently, NBC stipulated that Jonathan Rhys Meyers couldn’t receive his paycheck for Dracula until he completed the season, knowing of his challenges with addiction, and as soon as he finished filming he returned to rehab. How many agents and directors and costars know that their fellow actors have a problem but do nothing about it? They are enablers as much as the people who supply the drugs.
Today’s news is a terrible tragedy, but it can be prevented. Things need to change.
RIP, Philip Seymour Hoffman. You were an amazing actor and an incredible human being.