New Yorkers Remember Beloved Philip Seymour Hoffman

February 3, 2014 Updated: February 4, 2014

While actors, fans, and critics across the world grieved Philip Seymour Hoffman’s sudden death, New Yorkers placed flowers and candles outside his apartment in Greenwich Village.

Hoffman won the Oscar for Best Actor for the film Capote in 2005, was nominated for three Academy Awards, and starred in more than 50 films. 

Police found him dead lying on the floor just after 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, apparently from an overdose. A spokesperson for the New York City Medical Examiner, Julia Bolcer said on Monday that they are still continuing the examination.

The Broadway League announced that theater marquees would be dimmed for one minute on Wednesday at 7:45 p.m. in his honor.

Manhattan-born Nicole Wilson knew Hoffman before he became famous. She grew up in Manhattan Plaza, with neighbors including Alicia Keys and Donald Faison from “Scrubs.”

Her fondest memory of Hoffman was when he came to the plaza as a Summer camp counselor. He wore a distinctly old pair of Converse sneakers that were broken, and he used to make them talk.

Later Wilson went to theater school and saw Hoffman in a Broadway show,”‘True West.”

“At first I didn’t make the connection,” she said.

They often bumped into each other in the theater district, where he was always encouraging.

“He was always warm and friendly, down-to-earth and normal,” she said. “He never became that kind of actor that became ego-driven or disconnected with the New York actor community.” 

Last time Wilson saw him was two months ago where he was cycling by Washington Square Park. “He seemed himself; he was just like any New Yorker.”

Alex J. Mann, 27, a New York-based writer, director and filmmaker recalled a brief encounter with Hoffman in October while he was shooting a small film in the area. He particularly felt touched by Hoffman’s performance in “The Master.”

“I was setting up to shoot a small film. I saw a guy sitting on the steps with a blond beard, I had to double take,” he said.

Mann didn’t want to come across like he was trying to film Hoffman.

“I said to him, we’re going to be shooting a small film. He said, ‘Ok thanks for letting me know.’” 

“I’m glad I had a chance to meet him, it was definitely a special moment, even more so today.”

Hoffman is succeeded by his son Cooper, daughters Tallulah and Willa, and long-time girlfriend Mimi O’Donnell.

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