Yesterday marked nine years since the passing of Oscar-winning and Tony award-nominated actor, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who died of a drug overdose in 2014 at the age of 46.
Yesterday, colleagues and friends alike paid tribute to the late actor and director, including Justin Long, who posted a photo of them on Instagram alongside fellow actor, Sam Rockwell, while on set for the 1999 Star Trek spoof, Galaxy Quest.
“Thinking about Phil Hoffman today. Can’t believe it’s been 9 years…” Long started his caption. “Sam Rockwell and I were shooting the movie ‘Galaxy Quest’ (my first) in the summer of ‘99. One day Sam said ‘My friend Phil is gonna stop by a little later’. I tried to play it cool but it must’ve been obvious how excited I was at even the possibility that the ‘Phil’ he was referring to was ‘Seymour Hoffman’.”
Long recalled how energetic and joyful of a person Hoffman was, calling him “boisterous and jokey” as he arrived on set and talked with Long’s castmates, Hoffman’s friends.
“Knowing what a huge fan I was,” the caption continues, “Sam wanted to introduce us and I am forever grateful that he did. When I was the young eager actor you see in this picture, Phil was an acting god to me – my Meryl Streep or Marlon Brando. He still is.”
Hoffman had an enormous impact on Long’s acting career, still to this day, admitting that he still thinks of Hoffman when he needs guidance while acting.
“Whenever I’m stuck in a scene I often find myself thinking ‘What would Phil do?’ – it always grounds me in the truth.”
Beyond acting, Long reminisces over what it was like just being in Hoffman’s presence, saying “I can also still hear his laugh.”
“He’d laugh so hard he’d get a little wheezy and his eyes glistened with emerging tears – full and bold and lacking even a hint of self-consciousness.
He laughed the way he acted,” he concluded. “Today I’m missing both ❤️”
Long has previously expressed his grief over losing a role model and friend of an actor that is Hoffman, posting to his Instagram in 2021 with an anecdotal caption about a time him, Hoffman, and other friends gathered at a restaurant in LA, El Compadre.
“[Hoffman] lived that moment the way he lived every moment as an actor: fully present and committed and without a hint of self consciousness,” part of the caption read. “It was beautiful – something I’ll never forget and always aspire to.
“ I don’t think I’ll ever have a night quite like that one,” he ended his caption, “because nobody tells stories or laughs with quite as much abandon as Phil did 😌❤️”
In addition to Long, fellow actor, Josh Gad, posted to his Instagram yesterday in remembrance of the Capote star.
“Not an anniversary I ever want to remember,” he started the caption to a photo of the two of them smiling for a picture. “I hate that this man is gone. He is indisputably in the top bracket of greatest Actors of all time. And what’s more, one of the sweetest humans I have ever met. His last words to me were ‘we need to play brothers.’ If only…❤️💔🙏”
Other Hollywood colleagues commented on the two posts, including Jeremy Renner and Josh Brolin, the latter writing, “Miss him dearly. Knew him since he first became an actor. I watched the whole trajectory. Amazing human being.”
Hoffman was found unresponsive in his Greenwich Village apartment on February 2, 2014 by his friend, David Bar Katz, with a syringe in his arm and a bag of heroin nearby.
“I saw him last week, and he was clean and sober, his old self,” David Bar Katz said at the time. “I really thought this chapter was over.”
Katz was referring to Hoffman’s past challenges with addiction. The New York Times cited an interview on 60 Minutes in 2006 where Hoffman stated he had been clean since he was 22 years old. However, a year before his untimely death, he checked into a rehabilitation clinic for 10 days because of a “reliance on prescription pills [that resulted] in his briefly turning again to heroin.”
In Hoffman’s nearly 25-year-long career, he starred in more than 50 films, as well as many Broadway and Off Broadway appearances. His final Broadway appearance was in 2012, where he played the lead as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. He was nominated for a Tony award for his portrayal of the classic story’s protagonist.
“Mr. Hoffman does terminal uncertainty better than practically anyone,” Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote at the time, “and he’s terrific in showing the doubt that crumples Willy just when he’s trying to sell his own brand of all-American optimism.”
Hoffman also won the Best Actor Oscar in 2006 for his role in Capote, where he portrayed the complex novelist Truman Capote.
Last May, a statue of Hoffman was erected in front of the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. Scheduled to be moved to Greenwich Village in NYC, they decided to permanently keep it at the museum, who is also showcasing an exhibition of films at its own Dryden Theatre, titled, “A Tribute to Phillip Seymour Hoffman”.The sculpture show Hoffman mid-stride, appearing to walk towards the entrance to the museum theater. The late actor’s mother, Marilyn O’Connor, expressed her approval of keeping the statue put.
“Where else would he be going but to a movie?” she said.
Referencing the theater his statue stands in front of, she said, “I really do feel like it is an undiscovered gem.”
Hoffman would have turned 56 this year in July. He has been and will continue to be dearly missed by colleagues, family, friends, and fans.