“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.”
The law enforcement officials said Hoffman’s body was discovered in a bathroom at his Greenwich Village apartment by a friend who made the 911 call and his assistant.
Late Sunday, 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.
Hoffman’s family called the news “tragic and sudden.” Hoffman is survived by his partner of 15 years, Mimi O’Donnell, and their three children.
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone,” the family said in a statement.
In one of his earliest screen roles, he played a spoiled prep school student in “Scent of a Woman” in 1992. One of his breakthroughs came as a gay member of a porno film crew in “Boogie Nights,” one of several movies directed by Paul Thomas Anderson that he would eventually appear in.
He often played comic, slightly off-kilter characters in movies like “Along Came Polly,” ‘‘The Big Lebowski” and “Almost Famous.”
More recently, he was Plutarch Heavensbee in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and was reprising that role in the two-part sequel, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay,” which is in the works. And in “Moneyball,” he played Art Howe, the grumpy manager of the Oakland Athletics who resisted new thinking about baseball talent.
Just weeks ago, Showtime announced Hoffman would star in “Happyish,” a new comedy series about a middle-aged man’s pursuit of happiness.
He was nominated for the 2013 Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in “The Master” as the charismatic leader of a religious movement. The film, inspired in part by the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, reunited the actor with Anderson.