NEW YORK — He was only 46, busy as ever and secure in his standing as one of the world’s greatest actors.
There were no dissenters about the gifts and achievements of Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose death Sunday in New York brought a stunning halt to his extraordinary and unpredictable career.
An Oscar winner and multiple nominee, Hoffman could take on any character with almost unnerving authority, whether the religious leader in command of his every word in “The Master,” a trembling mess in “Boogie Nights” or the witty, theatrical Truman Capote in “Capote.”
Fearless in his choices, encyclopedic in his preparation, he was a Shakespearean performer in modern dress, bringing depth and variety to charlatans, slackers, curmudgeons and loners.
Friends, peers, family members and his countless fans were in grief after Hoffman was found in his Greenwich Village apartment with what law enforcement officials said was a syringe in his arm.
Many younger moviegoers know him as the scheming Plutarch Heavensbee in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and he was reprising that role in the two-part sequel, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay,” for which his work was mostly completed. The films are scheduled for November 2014 and November 2015 releases.
Born in 1967 in Fairport, N.Y., Hoffman was an athletic boy, but a neck injury sustained while wrestling ended any hopes for a career in sports. He soon became interested in acting. He studied theater as a teenager with the New York State Summer School of the Arts and the Circle in the Square Theatre. He then majored in drama at New York University.