IN MEMORIAM: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Legacy

Photo: George Biard

Photo: George Biard

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman, 1967-2014

Chris Luckett

Much has already been written about Philip Seymour Hoffman since word of his death spread yesterday, and even more will be written about him in the coming weeks. He was that rare actor who you sympathized with as a protagonist and gleefully relished as a villain.

Whether he was playing a quiet, normal guy in Love Liza or an apoplectic cur in Punch-Drunk Love, he remained irresistibly likeable. Somewhere between the teddy-bear charm of John Candy and the antic brashness of Jack Black, Hoffman existed. He lent gravity to movies that were too goofy and brought levity to movies that were too serious. He was a singular talent who was always interesting to watch, even when the movies themselves weren’t always.

His passing yesterday morning was a tragedy that travelled across traditional and social media with a speed usually reserved for the Michael Jacksons and the Heath Ledgers of the world. Everyone who wasn’t talking about the Super Bowl (and many still who were) was talking about the loss of an under-appreciated actor who always made a strong impression.

Hoffman may have given his final performance, but he left behind a wonderful catalog of subtle, overt, quiet, loud, depressing, hilarious, and fascinating performances. Picking a finite number of his best is a remarkably challenging task, as leaving almost anything off such a list seems a slight.

Every actor’s career can be encapsulated in ten scenes, though. Below are his finest moments – the ones that made Philip Seymour Hoffman so hard to dislike, so easy to admire, and so impossible to forget.

THE BIG LEBOWSKI (Universal Pictures, 1998)

HAPPINESS (Good Machine, 1998)

ALMOST FAMOUS (Dreamworks, 2000)

PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE (Columbia Pictures, 2002)

CAPOTE (MGM, 2005)

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III (Paramount Pictures, 2006)

CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR (Universal Pictures, 2007)

DOUBT (Miramax, 2008)

THE IDES OF MARCH (Sony Pictures, 2011)

THE MASTER (The Weinstein Company, 2012)

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