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RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman: 8 Of His Best Scene-Stealing Support Roles

Philip Seymour Hoffman, bless his soul, is an award-winning thespian. Even his support roles can often mesmerize. Here are some of his best.
by Anton D. Umali | Feb 3, 2014
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Tragedy has befallen another figure in pop culture. Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment last night due to a suspected overdose from heroin. This is another painful loss, because it was just too soon for the 46-year-old character actor, who has won the adulation of movie-lovers for his poignant performances.

His film career started out taking on bit roles in movies like Scent of a Woman, When a Man Loves a Woman, and Twister, but he soon was stealing the limelight from leads in ensemble flicks. The role of a lifetime came, however, when he was challenged to play famous author Truman Capote, which garnered him an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Being the chameleon that he was, he inhabited characters with such flawless flair, often wowing fans with his signature and sincere style of acting. A scene-stealer to say the least, Hoffman was known to imbue supporting roles with such charisma that he drew the watcher’s eye, sometimes outshining even the leads. To pay homage to a contemporary great, here is a list of some of the supporting (but captivating) roles that have made his filmography pretty hard to contend with.

He will live on in his work. Rest in peace, PSH! You will be missed.  


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Playing pitiful is one of PSH’s talents, and as sorry high school teacher Jacob Elinsky in Spike Lee’s NYC drama, he is marvelous. When a trio of best bros (Edward Norton and Barry Pepper play the other two) reunite for their drug-dealing bud’s sendoff party, he is verbally abused, driven by lust for a student (a hopped-up-on-ecstasy Anna Paquin), and ultimately realizes that there are some lines that shouldn’t be crossed.  

Hoffman’s voice talents take center stage in this bittersweet clay-animated dramedy about pen pals from different continents, with different ages, that find solace in each other’s words and letters. His deep and easily recognizable tone breathes life into this bleak and wry take on animation.


A favorite of director PT Anderson (his last role for the auteur was in the director’s 2012 film, The Master), Hoffman often appeared alongside a myriad of talent for Anderson’s early work. And Boogie Nights, the disco drama that focused on the ascent of the porn industry in the 70s, capitalized on his penchant for playing lonely men. He turned in a groovy-when-it-counts performance as Scotty J, the gay boom operator secretly in love with Mark Wahlberg’s Dirk Diggler.   


His sly, rich, and adversarial Freddie Miles quite often put the titular character (a young Matt Damon) of this suspense thriller in his rightful place. But of course, Mr, Ripley is a social-climbing sociopath and no one gets in his way. This is why Hoffman’s Freddie pays for his intrusions by getting bludgeoned by a house ornament.

NEXT: Magnolia, Happiness, and Mission: Impossible III

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