NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead Sunday in his Greenwich Village home with what law enforcement officials said was a syringe in his arm. He was 46.
The two officials told The Associated Press that glassine envelopes containing what was believed to be heroin were also found with Hoffman. Those items are being tested.
Hoffman, 46, reportedly had battled drug addiction, but was clean for 23 years before falling off the wagon in 2012. He checked into a rehab center last year, according to reports.
During a 2006 interview on 60 Minutes Hoffman told Steve Kroft that he had scared himself straight.
“It was anything I could get my hands on,” he said, “I liked it all.”
“This is a wonderful, versatile, talented actor with an unlimited future in front of him, but obviously somebody who had his demons,” film critic Leonard Maltin told CBS News.
“Whenever an actor is so versatile at stage and screen roles plus leading and supporting roles dies so young you just stop and lay ahead,” said film crtic Jeffrey Lyons. “How many roles were we deprived of by this loss?”
Hoffman won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 2005 movie “Capote.” He also starred in films such as “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “The Big Lebowski,” “Moneyball” and “Boogie Nights.”
Hoffman leaves behind a longtime partner, Mimi O’Donnell, and three children.
As 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported, Hoffman was a familiar face in the West Village, where people would see him on the playground with his children or taking one of them to school.
“Just a normal West Village resident here in New York City, and I just got the impression that he was just a regular guy living a regular life,” one resident said.
For some of those gathered outside Hoffman’s apartment on Bethune Street on Sunday, it was the actor’s down-to-earth quality that makes his death all the more sad.
One person told Stern: “He was a gifted actor, and his death comes all too soon.”
Just weeks ago, Showtime announced Hoffman would star in “Happyish,” a new comedy series about a middle-aged man’s pursuit of happiness.
In “The Master,” he was nominated for the 2013 Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role as the charismatic leader of a religious movement. The film, partly inspired by the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, reunited the actor with Anderson.
He also received a 2009 supporting nomination for “Doubt,” as a priest who comes under suspicion because of his relationship with a boy, and a best supporting actor nomination for “Charlie Wilson’s War,” as a CIA officer.
Born in 1967 in upstate Fairport, 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’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Trained in the theater, with a versatility and discipline more common among British performers than Americans, he was a character actor who could take on any role, large or small, loathsome or sympathetic.
On the stage, he performed in revivals of “True West,” “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and “The Seagull,” a summer production that also featured Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. In 2012, he was more than equal to one of the great roles in American theater — Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman,” a performance praised as “heartbreaking” by Associated Press theater critic Mark Kennedy.
“Hoffman is only 44, but he nevertheless sags in his brokenness like a man closer to retirement age, lugging about his sample cases filled with his self-denial and disillusionment,” Kennedy wrote. “His fraying connection to reality is pronounced in this production, with Hoffman quick to anger and a hard edge emerging from his babbling.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, citing officials, Hoffman’s body was discovered around 11:15 a.m. inside his Bethune Street condo by a screenwriter.
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