Philip Seymour Hoffman dead: Possible heroin found near body, police say

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Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead of an apparent drug overdose inside his New York apartment on Sunday, police said, adding that two glassine envelopes containing what police suspected to be heroin were found near his body.

Five empty glassine envelopes were found in the trash, police added.

The “Capote” actor, 46, was discovered by a business associate shortly after 11:30 a.m. Eastern time in his Greenwich Village apartment. Hoffman was found in his bathroom with a hypodermic needle stuck in his left arm, police said.

PHOTOS: Celebrities react to Hoffman’s death


Hoffman won the Oscar for lead actor for portraying Truman Capote in the 2005 biopic “Capote.” He had publicly admitted undergoing treatment for substance abuse problems but had said he had gotten sober in rehab.

“Anything I could get my hands on,” Hoffman said in discussing his drug and alcohol dependency on “60 Minutes” in 2006. “I liked it all.”

Last year, the versatile actor -- who starred in such films as “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Charlie Wilson’s War” and “Boogie Nights” -- reportedly checked himself into rehab for 10 days after relapsing in 2012. He had been sober for 23 years.

Last month, Hoffman traveled to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah to promote the drama “A Most Wanted Man,” set for release this year, in which he portrays a grizzled World War II counter-terrorism operative. The actor served as an executive producer and was set to star in the upcoming Showtime comedy “Happyish,” in which he portrays the creative director of an ad agency struggling with a midlife crisis.

“Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of our generation’s finest and most brilliant actors,” Showtime said in a statement. “He was alo a gifted comedic talent. It was a great privilege and pleasure to work with him and we are all absolutely devastated by this sudden loss.”

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Hoffman just weeks before his death

Hoffman appeared in a supporting role in last year’s “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” which grossed $860 million worldwide and stands out as the most commercially successful movie of the actor’s career. He had filmed scenes for two sequels in the blockbuster franchise.

Hoffman’s work was “substantially complete” on “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I,” and he had seven shooting days remaining on “Mockingjay Part 2,” said a person close to the production but not authorized to speak to media. The actor’s death will not affect the films’ scheduled release dates in November 2014 and 2015, the person said.


Raised in a middle-class household in Rochester, N.Y., primarily by his mother, a civil rights activist turned judge, Hoffman showed promise in wrestling and baseball until an injury derailed his athletic career. His family issued a statement Sunday.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone,” the statement said. “Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers.”

Hoffman began acting at age 15 and studied theater at New York University, graduating in 1989. Soon afterward, at 22, the actor checked himself into a rehabilitation program for alcohol and drug addiction.

“I had no interest in drinking in moderation. And I still don’t,” Hoffman told the U.K.’s Guardian in 2011. “Just because all that time’s passed doesn’t mean maybe it was just a phase. That’s, you know, who I am.”


PHOTOS: Hoffman’s memorable roles

A bear-like, perennially rumpled presence known as an actor’s actor, Hoffman displayed considerable range over a career that lasted 23 years and spanned nearly 60 films. He worked with a Who’s Who of A-list directors -- including, repeatedly, the Coen brothers, Paul Thomas Anderson and Bennett Miller -- appeared opposite a constellation of Hollywood’s biggest stars. The actor landed three other Academy Award nominations (for “The Master,” “Doubt” and “Charlie Wilson’s War”) as well as numerous critics association honors.

Indelibly, Hoffman portrayed a lisping narcissist in “Capote,” the messianic leader of a cult in 2012’s “The Master,” a creepy mouth-breathing sycophant in “Boogie Nights,” a Machiavellian political consigliere in “The Ides of March” and a maverick CIA operative in “Charlie Wilson’s War.”

A journeyman stage actor, Hoffman also served as co-artistic director of New York’s Labryinth Theater Company and was nominated for three Tony awards including one for his 2012 portrayal of Willy Loman in the Broadway revival of “Death of a Salesman.”


“He gave performances of sacred and terrifying intensity,” said Peter Sellars, who directed Hoffman in productions of Shakespeare’s “Othello” and “The Merchant of Venice.” “Phil burned so brightly and with such unrelenting love -- it made him one of the great theater performers of his or any generation.”

Figures ranging from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to Chelsea Clinton took to Twitter on Sunday to register their shock and grief. Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres hailed Hoffman as a “brilliant, talented man,” and comedian Ricky Gervais praised him as “one of the greatest actors of a generation.”

Times staff writers Amy Kaufman, David Ng, Tina Susman and Yvonne Villarreal contributed reporting to this story.



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