Jul. 23, 1967 Fairport Monroe County New York, USA
Feb. 2, 2014 Manhattan New York County (Manhattan) New York, USA
Actor, Producer, and Director. He is probably best remembered for his portrayal of author Truman Capote in the biographical film "Capote" (2005), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Born in the Rochester suburb of Fairport, New York, his father worked as an executive for Xerox Corporation and his mother was an elementary school teacher before becoming a lawyer and eventually a family court judge. When he was nine years old, his parents divorced and he was raised primarily by his mother. His childhood passion was sports, particularly baseball and wrestling, but at the age of 12, he saw a stage production of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" and it changed his passion. A neck injury at the age of 14 caused him to withdraw from sports and he began to focus his efforts on acting. He played the lead role in his high school production of "Death of a Salesman." After graduating from Fairport High School in Fairport, New York, he was accepted to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and continued his training at the Circle in the Square Theatre's summer program in Manhattan, New York City, New York. After making his screen debut in a "Law & Order" television episode in 1991, his first cinema role came the following year when he was credited as 'Phil Hoffman' in the independent film "Triple Bogey on a Par Five Hole," but subsequently adopted his grandfather's name 'Seymour' to avoid confusion with another actor of the same name. This was promptly followed by an appearance in the studio production "My New Gun" and a small role in the Steve Martin comedy "Leap of Faith" (both 1992). Following these efforts, he gained attention playing a spoiled rich student in the Oscar-winning film "Scent of a Woman" (1992), with Al Pachino and Chris O'Donnell. In 1993 he played small roles in the romance film "Joey Breaker" and the critically panned teen zombie film "My Boyfriend's Back," followed by a more notable role in the crime comedy "Money for Nothing." In 1994 he portrayed an inexperienced mobster in the crime thriller "The Getaway," starring Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, and appeared with Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan in the romantic drama "When a Man Loves a Woman." He then played a police deputy in the critically acclaimed "Nobody's Fool," based on the 1993 Richard Russo novel. In 1995 he temporarily dropped out of films and joined the LAByrinth Theater Company of New York City, an association that lasted the remainder of his life. Along with appearing in multiple productions, he later became co-artistic director of the theater company with John Ortiz and directed various plays over the years. The following year he returned to films, with an appearance in the crime thriller "Hard Eight" and starring in one of the year's biggest blockbusters, "Twister," in which he played a grubby, hyperactive storm chaser alongside Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton. In 1997 he appeared in "Boogie Nights" and in 1998 he had supporting roles in the crime thriller "Montana" and the romantic comedy "Next Stop Wonderland", "The Big Lebowski," "Happiness," and the semi-biographical comedy-drama film "Patch Adams," starring Robin Williams. In 1999 he starred opposite Robert De Niro as drag queen 'Rusty Zimmerman' in Joel Schumacher's drama "Flawless," followed by "Magnolia," and "The Talented Mr. Ripley." The same year, he first gained recognition as a theater actor for the off-Broadway play "The Author's Voice," for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play. By 2000 he had established a reputation as a top supporting player who could be relied on to make an impression with each appearance. That year, he starred in the comedy film "State and Main" and the following year, he was featured as the narrator and interviewer in "The Party's Over," a documentary about the 2000 US elections. In 2002 he starred in the romantic comedy-drama "Punch-Drunk Love," with Adam Sandler and Emily Watson, followed by his role as a pesky tabloid journalist in the crime thriller "Red Dragon" featuring Anthony Hopkins as the psychiatrist and serial killer 'Dr. Hannibal Lecter', and then as an as an English teacher who makes a devastating drunken mistake in Spike Lee's drama "25th Hour." In 2003 he played in "Owning Mahowny" and had a small role in Anthony Minghella's successful Civil War epic "Cold Mountain" and in 2004 he appeared as Ben Stiller's crude has-been actor buddy 'Sandy Lyle' in the box office hit "Along Came Polly." A turning point in his career came with the biographical film "Capote" (2005), which dramatized Truman Capote's experience of writing his true crime novel "In Cold Blood" (1966), that won him not only an Oscar, but a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), and various other critics awards. The same year, he received his only Primetime Emmy Award nomination for the HBO miniseries "Empire Falls" (2005), but lost to castmate Paul Newman. In 2006, he appeared in "Mission: Impossible III," as the villainous arms dealer 'Owen Davian' opposite Tom Cruise and in 2007 he appeared in the Tamara Jenkins drama film "The Savages," followed by the Sidney Lumet crime drama "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," and "Charlie Wilson's War," opposite Tom Hanks, which garnered him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor along with a BAFTA and Golden Globe Award nomination. In 2008 he starred as a frustrated dramatist in Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York" and as 'Father Brendan Flynn' in "Doubt," about a priest accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old African-American student in the 1960s, opposite Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, in which he received his 2nd consecutive Academy Award Best Supporting Actor nomination, along with a BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild nominations. In 2009 he returned to the stage and played 'Iago' in Peter Sellars' futuristic production of "Othello" and did his first vocal performance for the claymation film "Mary and Max." Continuing with animation, he worked on an episode of the children's show "Arthur" and received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Performer In An Animated Program. Later in the year, he played a brash American DJ opposite Bill Nighy and Rhys Ifans in Richard Curtis's British comedy "The Boat That Rocked," a character based loosely on the host of Radio Caroline in 1964. In 2010 he starred in and made his directorial debut in "Jack Goes Boating" and also directed Brett C. Leonard's tragic drama "The Long Red Road" for the Goodman Theater in Chicago, Illinois. In 2011 he had significant supporting roles as 2002 Oakland Athletics manager Art Howe in "Moneyball," followed by George Clooney's political drama "The Ides of March," which earned him his 4th BAFTA Award nomination. In 2012 he starred in drama film "The Master" with Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams, and "A Late Quartet." His only role in 2013 was that of gamemaker 'Plutarch Heavensbee' in science fiction adventure "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," the sequel to the 2012 film "The Hunger Games." At the time of his death, he was filming "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2," the final "Hunger Games" movie, and had already completed the majority of his scenes. He was found dead at the age of 46 in the bathroom of his West Village, Manhattan office apartment by a friend, playwright and screenwriter David Bar Katz. A final autopsy report revealed that he died accidentally from an acute mixed drug intoxication, as heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamines were all found in his system. During his career that spanned over two decades, he appeared in over 50 films. He also received three Tony Award nominations for his Broadway performances, two for Best Leading Actor in Sam Shepard's "True West" (2000) and "Death of a Salesman" (2012), and one for Best Featured Actor in "Long Day's Journey into Night" (2003). His older brother, Gordy Hoffman, is a screenplay writer and director. (bio by: William Bjornstad)
Burial: Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Maintained by: Find A Grave Originally Created by: David Peltier Record added: Feb 02, 2014
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