Philip Seymour Hoffman, in One Word

February 7, 2014 Updated: February 12, 2014

NEW YORK—Philip Seymour Hoffman passed, but memories live on. He was a man who blended into the Greenwich Village community, a talented actor, and a family guy.

On Wednesday night, candles flickered and a crowd gathered outside the Labyrinth Theater, where Hoffman was the artistic director. Friends, actors, admirers, and neighbors flocked to the vigil there.

The Rev. Jim Martin, a Jesuit priest and LAByrinth member asked the crowd to raise a candle and speak out loud one word that came to mind when thinking of Hoffman. Martin said, “Humility.”

Eric Bogosian, an actor and playwright ended the vigil by saying: “We will more than miss Phil. We will live in a smaller world without him.”

Here is a collection of words in memory of Hoffman’s remarkable life from the community he called home.

Powerful
“Phil’s one of the first people I saw on stage when I first moved to New York. His passion really struck me the most about him. He directed me in “A Family for All Occasions” by Bob Glaudini. He’s relentless in the best way, always digging deeper. He loved the theater.”

—Chris Bellant, actor at the Labyrinth Theater Company

Friendly
“He liked my dog, Salty. He was always friendly and joking. He used to joke around about her.”

—David Heim, neighbor and tugboat captain

Local
“When I first met him I thought he was Michael Moore. His son was looking at a nice hat. He said to his son “$80 is quite expensive for your age.” I thought, wow, this guy is really down to earth. I sit and paint most of the time. He’s a family guy, sometimes with a bicycle. He typically wore a jumper and T-shirt and baseball cap, that’s how I remember him. Capturing the moment of him [in a painting] is sad but archival. It’s special for me, but also special for some local people. He’s local, that’s why it’s really sad.”

—Kazuya Morimoto, artist in West Greenwich Village

Cool
“He was really kind. He was the coolest celebrity you’ve ever met. I really admired him. People would approach him and he would just talk like a regular person, I never heard him saying ‘no’ to anyone. I thought he was cool, the coolest. You see a lot of celebrities in the neighborhood. I thought he was the most approachable.”

—Ali Sahin, bartender at Entwine

Tender
“He was very tender. More than any other actor. He turned his insides out.”

—Clare, neighbor and author

Special
“He would always say hello when I was standing outside here having a cigarette. He was very polite. He looked friendly, though older than his age.”

—Nicoleta Lonita, neighbor and housekeeper at Methodist Church

Gem
“I saw him biking around, usually wearing shorts in the summer. It’s really cool to see a celebrity free. He didn’t hide; he was just himself. He was one of the gems of acting. Only a handful can do any role. Versatility is hard to find.”

—Shayan Shojaee, bartender, Turks & Frogs

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