The Talented Mr Seymour Hoffman

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

With the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman over night, it just goes to show that mental illness does not abate with age, with fame, with critical acclaim or with parenthood.

There are those who have been quick to write him off as ‘just another Hollywood overdose’ but perhaps we should look at the reason Phillip Seymour Hoffman died with a needle in his arm.

People who abuse drugs don’t do so because they enjoy it. Okay, so they might enjoy it while they are in the middle of a high, but that is a very small moment in the life of a drug-taker. It is everything that comes with it which makes drug use a terrible past time; coming down from the drug, the endless search to get the drug in your possession (which often comes at great cost), the affect it has on your health, and the emotional affect it has on your family.

There is also, of course, the risk of getting caught. Drugs are, after all, illegal.

For the most part (and of course there are exceptions to every rule) drugs are used by people as a means to escape the hardship of life. When speaking of drug users, the ignorant say, ‘why don’t they just quit?’

Because the drug itself isn’t the reason behind its use.

It is the reason why rehab is such an important tool. Users need to learn the psychological reasons for why they use. They need to heal their emotional anguish before so there is no longer a need to mask their pain with drugs.

It is not an easy road to sobriety, as Seymour Hoffman has shown; he was in rehab early on in his career. Addiction doesn’t stop with a hospital visit. It stays with you for life.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was forty-six when he died. He was the father of Cooper, 10, Tallulah, 7 and Willa, 5. He won an Oscar for his role in Capote, and appeared in the films Money Ball, Patch Adams, Magnolia, The Talented Mr Ripley, Almost Famous, and Doubt, just to name a few.

He was an extraordinary talent.

13 thoughts on “The Talented Mr Seymour Hoffman

  1. I forgot he was in Almost Famous – after reading this I looked it up – another great role. He’ll be missed…. Much of your post boils down to one phrase: what he was doing was self-medicating.


  2. Self-medicating doesn’t work for anyone. You may not die of a drug overdose, but there are other dire consequences to self-medication, such as distancing yourself from family and friends who love and care about you, losing everything you own or worked for in your life, eventually dying alone. Your post was right on the money. There is more to this than “just another overdose”. Philip Seymour Hoffman was an amazing actor with phenomenal talent and a severe problem with addiction. He went twenty years without ever using, but last year something happened that made him relapse. God bless his soul and my thoughts and prayers are with his family at this most difficult time.


    1. For me it’s sugar and caffeine. Yes, it may disrupt the lives around me (particularly Mr Thomas when I haven’t had my coffee fix) but it could be a lot worse.


  3. It took me years to get off of drugs but have been sober for about a long while. It took everything I had to stop the cycle of chaos that I was caught up in. It was not about having fun, it was about staying alive and defeating the demons that bullied my soul. Its not easy to conquer this burden. First take on the issues that caused madness in your life, then try defeat addiction that controls your life. The task are daunting and can try mans soul. I will only have compassion for those who suffer an uncontrolled destiny….Don’t judge its not our job!


  4. Really sad news. He was easily one of the best actors working today, and has been in some of my favourite films – Boogie Nights, Magnolia etc – a real loss. I was only watching him in The Hunger Games the night before he died actually.


  5. Until yesterday I didn’t know he suffered from addiction. Sometimes great talent is borne of great torment. We are all the fortunate ones that get to admire and enjoy the creative work but what a cost to the individual. A sad loss on every level.


  6. A great actor who was able to make the smallest of parts great.
    May he rest in peace.

    And what are we to always talk ill behind the backs of a dead person. shame on us.
    No not you Miss Thomas. People in general.

    thank you for the great post on a talent lost.
    Keep smiling Miss Thomas


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