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Philip Seymour Hoffman was a beautiful artist – the best male actor living, to my eyes.  He left half his life un-lived.   It is tragic, but the tragedy is not in the roles he will not play.  

http://davidkeithlaw.wordpress.com/...

When I am dead, I may not care much what is said about me.   But I care now and so, let me ask that when I die, people refrain from saying “what a shame, imagine all the work he could have done, had he lived longer.”

This is what people are saying about Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died Sunday from heroin, aged 46.   It is true that when a person dies before old age we are moved to think, “what might have been” – Hoffman and President Kennedy died at the same age, for example. Hoffman was older than Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Amy Winehouse, John Belushi, Kurt Cobain and Vincent Van Gogh, when they died.   Each of them, had they lived, would likely have given us more of their good work, and their bad.  Had they lived.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was a beautiful artist – the best male actor living, to my eyes.   Those aspects of his craft which elevated him:  deep intelligence, a roiling inner pain and a droll sense of humour, may well have been the things that killed him.  He made the inner life visible. Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn’t so much an actor, as a guitar.  His music filled him and rushed out at us so powerfully, you forgot there were fingers on the strings.

It is true that we only know the man through his work and so, naturally mourn the fact there will be no more of it.    But isn’t it just a little selfish to dwell upon a person’s work, and the work left undone, in the hours and days following his death?  Perhaps people don’t know what else to say and, feeling compelled to say something, say anything.   Let us say this: Hoffman left three children and a spouse and a huge stable of friends and fans and family. His mother, who raised him by herself, mourns him today.

Philip Seymour Hoffman left half his life un-lived.   It is tragic, but the tragedy is not in the roles he will not play.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I grew up not far from him (0+ / 0-)

    Never met him, but I knew and worked with his mom when she was still a lawyer working in Family Court, before she became a judge there.

    Very nice and decent lady, so it doesn't surprise me that she raised such a talented son. I know she must be devastated.

    I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

    by Wayward Wind on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 06:48:13 AM PST

  •  Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Crider

    Before The Devil Knows You're Dead and Naomi Watts' in Mulholland Dr. were the two greatest film  performances I've ever seen.

    RIP to one of the top few greatest actors in film history.

    Best Scientist Ever Predicts Bacon Will Be Element 119 On The Periodic Table

    by dov12348 on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 06:53:56 AM PST

    •  I'll add to this his performance in "Love Liza" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dov12348

      A small 2002 film about a grieving man overcome by substance abuse. It's the first thing I thought about when I heard he had died.

      "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

      by Crider on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 08:39:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Naomi Watts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dov12348

      I absolutely agree with you about this performance, it was remarkable.  I remember seeing it in the theatre and thinking that.

      •  When I first saw it in 11/01 (0+ / 0-)

        I just sat stunned in the theater afterwards.  In 2012 Mulholland Dr. was number 28 in the once-a-decade poll of 250 critics by Sight and Sound of the greatest films in history.

        For years though, my favorite films were

        1. Casablanca
        2. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
        3. Mulholland Dr.
        4. Runaway Train
        5. Jean DeFlorette/Manon des Sources

        Best Scientist Ever Predicts Bacon Will Be Element 119 On The Periodic Table

        by dov12348 on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 08:47:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I didn't like him at first, but he grew on me. (0+ / 0-)

    He went from 'ugh not this guy again' to one of my favorite actors over the years.

    RIP

  •  He was flawless (0+ / 0-)

    in Flawless and the most interesting thing in The Talented Mr. Ripley.

  •  I don't get it. (0+ / 0-)

    An overprivileged (from birth) white man with a dream job dies of a self-inflicted heroin overdose and is somehow worthy of our respect.

    •  is he less worthy of respect (0+ / 0-)

      because of his gender, race, "privilege" or addiction?

    •  Drug war propaganda? (0+ / 0-)

      Look deeper into the issue substance abuse and think about how our society treats it as a criminal thing instead of a health issue.

      "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

      by Crider on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 08:49:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What have you done in your life? (0+ / 0-)

      Is annoymously commenting on a blog your legacy?

      He was a brilliant actor and you and I got to share in that experience. What are you sharing?

    •  half right (0+ / 0-)

      you can feel sorry for his tragic death and our loss of a great talent, which I do, and still be "angry" at someone with so much available to him, economically, socially, etc., to waste it away. Which I also am.

      To me, the real story is that every day hundreds if not thousands of anonymous people without privilege and without access to money or health care die from drug addiction and that gets little or no attention in this society.  When has the NYPD ever gone out when a 16 year old is found dead in Harlem of a drug overdose to "chase down and find the supplier?"

      This is the flip side of the incarceration issue with drug addiction, and the inordinate affect that it has on those of color or those w/o privileges in this society.  Every meaningless death should be of equal weight.  Better yet, everyone with addiction should have access to getting clean.  

      I respect Philip Seymour Hoffman and I mourn his death.  I just hope it leads to a bigger discussion.

      Oh, and while a great actor, DDL tops that list.  

      •  maybe a lesson (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        unfangus, churchylafemme

        of Hoffman's passing is that even the MOST privileged and fortunate of people, cannot always overcome addiction

        we have this delusion that people "choose" a path -  but very often they just choose to take a step, and another step, and are blind to the path or where it leads

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