The image Philip Seymour Hoffman left imprinted in my mind is his exceptional portrayal of rock critic Lester Bangs in the 2000 film “Almost Famous.”
With needle still in arm and evidence of drug abuse throughout his apartment, actor Hoffman, 46 years old, was found dead on Sunday morning.
According to the New York Daily News, Hoffman was discovered by friend David Katz. Officials suspect the overdose was caused by heroin injections considering the 70 bags of the drug found scattered around Hoffman’s apartment.
Hoffman was best known for his role in the 2005 film “Capote,” as well as his Academy Awards and Tony Award nominations. His ability to transform into enticing characters transports audiences to new worlds and isn’t that what art is all about?
In the aftermath of events such as these there arise two kinds of people: those who mourn the loss of a fellow human, and those who mourn the loss of an entertainment source. In the case of any death, those who care for the deceased usually experience a spat of selfishness. Especially when the death could be seen as self inflicted, friends and family may blame the deceased for “playing God” and removing themselves from the world.
Personally I see people blame celebrities for robbing us of their talents. In any case with celebrities it is not our place to criticize. We are unaware of the personal circumstances involved in the death. Particularly with Hoffman’s case, who had been clean for two decades, the overdose was most likely unintentional.
Other drug related celeb deaths, such as that of “Glee” actor Cory Monteith, not only raise awareness of the ever escalating drug problem in our society, but a question of why? Is there a high concentration of fatal overdoses within the world of celebrities because there is more coverage? Or is there a specific variable in that culture that pushes many actors over the edge?
We may not be able to answer why after 23 years Hoffman resorted to drugs but we can accept his passing, appreciate the performances that he has given us and not resent him for those he will not be able to.