|Philip Seymour Hoffman.|
Some people mock the tributes and grief seen on social media when celebrities die, as if we kid ourselves into thinking we’ll miss people we never knew in the first place. Maybe sometimes there’s a slither of truth in that, but it overlooks our ability to be profoundly inspired by figures we don’t personally know. It also ignores another very vital human trait: that we value even just one person’s life.
Added to that, our feelings about the death of a famous person can in a very small way be representative of the feelings we have, or would have, for friends and family when they pass.
Specifically, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death of a suspected heroin overdose (aged 46) is desperately sad, particularly considering he leaves a partner of 15 years and three children. I wasn’t even aware he’d suffered from addiction problems in the past, though had reportedly been clean for 23 years before his recent relapse. Widely regarded as one of the pre-eminent actors of his generation, he just might be the most famous character actor of all time.
And it’s for that reason I think so many will miss him: he played complicated, relatable roles of people with flaws and self-doubts. To know those self-doubts could carry over once the camera stopped is again relatable for many with a hint of a public profile.
|The final image from Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid.|
A quick look at the films he’s starred in reads as a silver screen best-of for the past 20 years: Capote, The Hunger Games, Moneyball, Almost Famous, Boogie Nights, The Master, The Ides Of March, Doubt, Charlie Wilson’s War, Cold Mountain, Red Dragon, The Talented Mr Ripley, Magnolia, The Big Lebowski etc etc etc.
I once saw an interview where Philip Seymour Hoffman described Paul Newman as one of his favourite actors, so with that in mind, here is a sad, melancholy instrumental from the classic Newman film Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid.
Composed by Burt Bacharach, the soundtrack was dominated by the perky hit Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, but also contains some seriously contemplative music. The piece in question Not Goin’ Home Anymore is one of the most emotive instrumentals by a popular songwriter I can think of, especially when matched to that iconic still image of Paul Newman (Butch) and Robert Redford (the Sundance Kid) moments before their deaths.
For the extraordinary Philip Seymour Hoffman, here is Not Goin’ Home Anymore: