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Nation/World

February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead in NYC apartment

NEW YORK (AP)— Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won the Oscar for his portrayal of writer Truman Capote and created a gallery of slackers, charlatans and other characters so vivid that he was regarded as one of the world’s finest actors, was found dead in his apartment yesterday with what officials said was a needle in his arm. He was 46.

Hoffman — with his lumpy, heavyset build, his disheveled look and his limp, receding blond hair — was a character actor of such range and lack of vanity that he could seemingly handle roles of any size, on the stage and in movies that played in art houses or multiplexes.

He could play comic or dramatic, loathsome or sympathetic, trembling or diabolical, dissipated or tightly controlled, slovenly or immaculate.

The stage-trained actor’s rumpled naturalism brought him four Academy Award nominations — for “Capote,” ‘‘The Master,” ‘‘Doubt” and “Charlie Wilson’s War” — and three Tony nominations for his work on Broadway, including “Death of a Salesman.” He was as productive as he was acclaimed, often appearing in at least two or three films a year while managing a busy life in the theater.

Hoffman spoke candidly over the years about his past struggles with drug addiction. After 23 years sober, he admitted in interviews last year to falling off the wagon and developing a heroin problem that led to a stint in rehab.

“No words for this. He was too great and we’re too shattered,” said Mike Nichols, who directed Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War” and “Death of a Salesman.”

Law enforcement officials said Hoffman’s body was discovered in a bathroom at his Greenwich Village apartment by his assistant and a friend who made the 911 call.

Late yesterday, a police crime-scene van was parked out front, and technicians carrying brown paper bags went in and out. Police kept a growing crowd of onlookers back. A single red daisy had been placed in front of the lobby door.

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