Philip Seymour Hoffman: 5 of His Most Memorable Roles

February 2, 2014 Updated: February 2, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman was a renowned actor and theater director who died on February 2 from a possible drug overdose.

Hoffman made his career mostly as a character actor, and was one of the most prolific in the business.

The stage-trained actor’s rumpled naturalism made him one of the most admired performers of his generation. He was nominated for Academy Awards four times in all.

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.

With a versatility and discipline more common among British performers than Americans, he could seemingly take on any role, large or small, loathsome or sympathetic.

Let’s check out five of his most memorable roles.

1. Truman Capote in “Capote” 

(AP Photo/Attila Doroy, Sony Pictures Classics, File)

This role landed him an Oscar for best actor and got good reviews almost across the board.

In the film, Capote is a critically acclaimed novelist who delves into the account of a murder of a Kansas family.

2. Plutarch Heavensbee in “Hunger Games”


(AP Photo/Lionsgate, Murray Close)

Capote plays the intriguing character well, cold in the first movie but revealed as the leader of the rebellion in “Mockingjay: Part 1.”

Filming is currently taking place on “Mockingjay: Part 2,” and it’s unclear how Hoffman’s death will impact the filming.

3. Lancaster Dodd in “The Master”

(AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, File)

Hoffman’s turn as the leader of a charismatic movement that appeals to a Naval veteran who returns home from war is genius, and has been lauded by critics and regular film watchers alike.

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The film was based in part by the Scientology movement, with Hoffman’s character drawn from Ron L. Hubbard.

4. Brandt in “The Big Lebowski”

Hoffman’s near-perfection of different characters is seen in one of his lesser-known roles, before he became famous.

Brandt is the mediator between the two Lebowskis as the Big Lebowski’s personal assistant.

5. Paul Zara in “Ides of March”

(AP Photo/Columbia Pictures – Sony, Saeed Adyani, File)

Zara’s character is perhaps the one that garners the most sympathy in the end after getting betrayed.

Hoffman plays the part in the tale of political intrigue well, really getting across the idea of cut throat politics.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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