Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Columns

February 5, 2014

House of Burgess: His weakness made him strong

Philip Seymour Hoffman dead at 46

On Monday, I found myself roaming the DVD section of the public library. Included in the ever-growing stack of plastic cases under my arm were: “Scent of a Woman” (1992); “State and Main” (2000); “Empire Falls” (2005); “Charlie Wilson’s War” (2007); “Synecdoche, New York” (2008) and “The Master” (2012).

The one element they all had in common was they were all movies starring Philip Seymour Hoffman that I had not yet seen.

The previous day I had learned Hoffman — one of the finest character actors ever — was found dead in his New York City apartment. He was only 46 years old.

“Investigators found a syringe in his arm and, nearby, an envelope containing what appeared to be heroin,” reported Bruce Weber in The New York Times on Sunday.

Hoffman had been open about his struggles with addiction in the past, including a stint in rehab at age 22.

“It’s not a great pleasure for me to have a couple of glasses of wine,” he told Terry Gross on WHYY’s “Fresh Air” in 2008, after she asked if seeing others partake made him jealous. “That’s kind of annoying. Do you know what I mean? Like, why aren’t you having the whole bottle?”

There was clearly something very, very broken inside him. He exposed this vulnerability on screen. He held nothing back, making him an awe-inspiring performer. Sadly, the same thing that made him great ultimately did him in.

“What it takes to be a great athlete is the same thing that it takes to be a great actor, I think, that kind of concentration, that kind of privacy in public and that kind of un-self-conscious kind of experience are very similar and that kind of pressure of the people watching,” he told Gross in the same interview.

What a loss. Hoffman stars in no less than 10 movies I absolutely love. They are, in chronological order: “Hard Eight” (1996) — Hoffman came alive as an obnoxious gambler in director Paul Thomas Anderson’s debut film. He went on to star in every Anderson film to date, except “There Will Be Blood.”; “Boogie Nights” (1997) — I could watch this once a month for the rest of my life. Hoffman paints a hilarious and heartbreaking portrait of unrequited love; “The Big Lebowski” (1998) — My favorite movie ever; “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999) — Hoffman steals every scene he’s in, even from Matt Damon and Jude Law;

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 22, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Indiana Democrats deal with divide on education On the face of it, the battles between Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and supporters and staff of Republican Gov. Mike Pence have been a unifying force for Indiana Democrats. But the scrapping has exposed a deep rift within the party o

    July 22, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Is Evan Bayh contemplating another gubernatorial run? This could be the saga of “LeBron Bayh.”Like a thunderhead brewing in the distance, you could see this one coming. This was the progression: former state Democratic Chairman Dan Parker announces he will not become a candidate for mayor of Indianapoli

    July 21, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: Please go away already My wife is planning our summer vacation, which we will take in the fall. We took our spring vacation this summer. We got behind in 1984 and still haven't caught up. I don't have much input into the planning of these trips, but Mary Ellen did assign m

    July 21, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Internet, and future of communication One morning, I was chatting with some retired folks and the subject of paying bills on the Internet came up. One woman said she disposed of her computer years ago and pays her bills by mail. I commented she could get by just fine doing that. The othe

    July 20, 2014

  • FAITH BRAUTIGAM: Learning from others' mistakes through literature If you’ve ever been locked out of somewhere — your home, your car, your workplace — I expect you could tell me all the details of the incident, even if it was years or decades ago. Why? Our brains remember major events, and it’s a big deal to be stra

    July 20, 2014

  • RAY DAY: We need to get tough Last year I said I was going to quit trying to do anything about the shooting off of fireworks in the neighborhoods. But as anyone who knows me can say, I don't give up on things that are of utmost danger. Here it was, a week before the Fourth of Jul

    July 19, 2014

  • LEE HAMILTON: Is this country doomed to ceaseless polarization? We Americans are trapped in a political dilemma. We all like representative democracy, but we don't much like the way it's performing. The reason for this dissatisfaction is clear. Polls in recent years detail a polarized nation, divided both ideolog

    July 18, 2014

  • DAN COATS: Solving border crisis is a moral obligation More than 60,000 unaccompanied alien children — mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — have been apprehended on America’s southern border during this fiscal year. Another 40,000 family members — one or both parents traveling with their chi

    July 18, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Road to funding Ind. highways is jammed If you’ve driven on either of Indiana’s two busiest interstates recently, you’ll understand why a blue-ribbon commission last week called for adding traffic lanes to those harrowing highways.The report, issued by the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on T

    July 15, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller