Seton Hall community reflects on loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman

Blessed with talent but plagued with addiction, a star of the stage and screen was lost Feb 2.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46, died of a heroin overdose.

Hoffman was found in his apartment with a syringe in his arm, according to news reports.

Hoffman was an Academy Award winner and the recipient of three Tony Award nominations, best known for his performance in “Capote,” “Doubt” and “The Big Lebowski.”

Professor Deirdre Yates, a theater professor and chairwoman of the department of communication and the arts, said Hoffman has left a legacy of in-depth character study.

“He was someone who really embodied the entire character, the entire human spirit (in) whatever role he had,” Yates said. “I think the joy of his work (was that) it was never two-dimensional. It always had great depth to it.”

Yates described Hoffman’s death as a great sadness. She said his greatest roles were yet to come.

“On stage in ‘Death of a Salesman’ and then what could he have done as ‘King Lear’ in 20 more years,” Yates said. “What he still had to give was enormous.”

Communication professor Dr. Christopher Sharrett said he is no expert on addiction, but those who know Hollywood history will recognize Hoffman’s story.

“Actors frequently find themselves questioning their own identities-many of them are like many of us, carrying long-term baggage from their early lives,” Sharrett said. “Substance abuse can follow.”

Freshman Jake Verdi said he was shocked to hear that Hoffman’s death was the result of drugs, especially since he has a family.

At the time of his death, Hoffman was filming the next two “Hunger Games” films.

According to Lionsgate, most of his scenes were completed.

Michelle Foti can be reached at

Author: Michelle Foti

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