I don’t get into celebrity news too much. Granted, it can be fun (in a demented sort of way) to watch the rise and fall of various Hollywood types, but more often than not, I feel kind of sleazy when I let myself gawk too long. Partly that’s because I think so much of it is ridiculous, and partly that’s because it’s so dehumanizing.
When a celebrity passes away, I see it as unfortunate, but I don’t typically focus on it too much. If the deceased was someone whose art I had a particular fondness for, I might mourn it in some small way, but I don’t pretend to have known the person. Like everyone else, I feel the void left when a talented person we’ve come to enjoy and respect passes on. I want to honor them, of course, but I don’t want to diminish their personal relationships by talking about the loss as though it had nearly the same impact on me.
This past weekend, Philip Seymour Hoffman died. He’s been one of my favorite actors for a while. I’ve watched movies purely because he was in them, and I never saw him in a single role I didn’t enjoy.
I didn’t (and still don’t) know much about his personal life. I only know he had a way of bringing roles to life so that they resonated with me. I’ll certainly miss him on screen.
But more than that. For whatever reason, his passing has been on my mind for the better part of two days. Not just because he was a talented actor, but also because the circumstances of his death seem to have been particularly tragic and unnecessary. More than a few wildly talented people have struggle with and ultimately left us as a result of drug use. All such situations are equally mournful, but the quick exit Mr. Hoffman made has left me reeling.
Maybe it’s because, years ago, a friend suggested that if there were a movie made about me, he should be the actor to play me. I don’t know. I only know that I feel a deep and resounding sadness when I think about the fact that he’s gone. Nothing compared to the sadness his friends and family feel, I have no doubt, but something that gives me cause for pause.
So today, I’m grateful for the talent he shared with us. I’m grateful, too, for the fortune I’ve had, personally, that has spared me some of the struggles he had. And, I’m grateful for the people in my life who make it worth living.
In his honor, here’s a small sample of his work. One of his better scenes, in my opinion. It’s my small way of showing respect.