Over the holidays my mom gave me the gift of learning, a 10 week course on screenwriting to work on my writing and explore a passion for art made for the stage and the screen. This afternoon, after my first run on the west side highway since last spring, and some yoga stretches, I settled into my sofa and began my homework for class, to watch 12 Angry Men and take notes on the various segments of the film which would be discussed in class tomorrow evening. As the second act began, my mother calls me, so I pause the player and answer the phone. Before saying hello, she said, “I just got a HuffPost news alert on my phone saying Phillip Seymour Hoffman is dead. Overdose.” I couldn’t believe what she was saying. I quickly opened a new window on my Mac, and searched for Phillip, when the first result was the NYPost confirming that he did in fact die yesterday, around the time I was sun saluting in yoga with a friend.
I’ve been carrying my blog for 4 years now, and I have not yet reviewed a death. I’m not sure how to do this, but I think it’s important. I am personally very saddened by the news of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s passing. There are so many reasons why this is so tragic.
He had a family of three and a long time girlfriend, looked like a great family man at least to an outsider. I frequently spotted him at La Bonbonniere, an american diner in the west village, with his three kids and lady, passing bacon and toast around, while he plowed through a script.
His talent exceeds most artists today that are working and will continue to be seen as an example of what one can be capable of or what level to strive to for the up and coming. His contribution to the world of movies as a producer, actor, director and writer as well as his local involvement with the stage is unmatched. Some of my favorite features which he was involved in were, Magnolia, Capote and Boogie Nights. See his IMDb here.
I last saw Phillip in passing, as I was eating breakfast on an unseasonal Sunday afternoon in late November. I was with my boyfriend at Meme’s, a Mediterranean restaurant in my hood on Bank st. He was with a small posse of friends and looked cheerful, his head up, sunglasses on and a swagger in his step. I’ve seen him a few times in my life, but this time, sadly being the last time I would see him, stood out. He looked happy.
I don’t think Phillip’s character as a recognized artist or father of three, his life’s work, or his memory deserves such an ending like the headline I read today which announced his death. Just this morning, as I was near finished with my first jog of the season, taking a turn from the highway, and up Bank street, I passed the Labyrinth Theater, located on Bank street and Phillip crossed my mind. I did not know he was dead yet, but he crossed my mind because I thought ‘perhaps I will get more involved in the community theater this spring and have a chance to work with Phillip, wouldn’t that be cool?!‘, as he was a very active member of the theater and in a very cool, local way. Phillip was accessible, he was cool and he seemed normal, unlike some stars of his pedigree. He didn’t hide, he didn’t mind being seen in his neighborhood and he certainly was an accomplished man, who left behind a beautiful family and a body of work that will survive him.
Why do the most talented people in the world have such tortured souls? I didn’t know of Phillip’s addiction issues until today, and I choose to remember him as the famous, talented, cheerful guy that lived next door.
Everyone has their time, their final hour. Phillip’s was much too soon. But I am grateful that he shared his voice and his vision with the world, as some never do and that is why he will live on forever. R.I.P., my friend.