News / Arts & Entertainment

Family, Actors Mourn Philip Seymour Hoffman at Private Funeral

Mimi O'Donnell, former partner of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, holds their daughter Willa (in purple) next to their son Cooper as the casket arrives for Hoffman's funeral in the Manhattan borough of New York, Feb. 7, 2014.
Mimi O'Donnell, former partner of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, holds their daughter Willa (in purple) next to their son Cooper as the casket arrives for Hoffman's funeral in the Manhattan borough of New York, Feb. 7, 2014.
Reuters
Family and close friends bid their final farewells on Friday at a private funeral for actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose tragic death of an apparent overdose at the age of 46 robbed the entertainment world of one of its finest talents.
 
Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Joaquin Phoenix, Mary Louise Parker and Chris Rock were among the Hollywood stars who attended the service at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on Manhattan's Upper East Side to mourn the death of the Oscar-winning actor.
 
Blanchett, who spoke at the funeral along with director Paul Thomas Anderson, braved the cold in a long black coat as the hearse bearing Hoffman's coffin pulled away from the church on Park Avenue.
 
Actress Cate Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton leave the funeral of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, Feb. 7, 2014, in New York.Actress Cate Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton leave the funeral of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, Feb. 7, 2014, in New York.
x
Actress Cate Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton leave the funeral of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, Feb. 7, 2014, in New York.
Actress Cate Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton leave the funeral of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, Feb. 7, 2014, in New York.
She declined to comment as tears streamed down her face.
 
New York director and screenwriter Amos Poe said the funeral “was beautiful, just like Phil.”
 
Many of the actors at the service had worked with Hoffman. Williams lost her former partner, actor Heath Ledger, to an accidental drug overdose in 2008.
 
Scores of photographers, camera crews and reporters stood on piles of snow across from the large church, while fans were kept behind a barricade.
 
“I saw him in 'Long Day's Journey Into Night' and I thought he showed real genius. I am here paying my respects,” said a tearful Mary Catherine Wright, who lives nearby.
 
“He is remembered by most people for his movie roles, but I think his theater performances were pretty remarkable,” she added.
 
Hoffman, whose body was discovered on Sunday in his Greenwich Village apartment, is survived by his long-term partner, Mimi O'Donnell, and their three young children, Cooper, Tallulah and Willa.
 
A memorial service is planned for later this month.
 
Phenomenal Character Actor
 
Although Hoffman was found with a syringe in his arm, the  cause of his death was still undetermined on Friday pending the results of further studies.
 
Four people have been charged with drug offenses, possibly connected to the substances found at the actor's home.
 
Hoffman, a Best Actor Oscar winner for his role in the 2005 biographical film “Capote,” won accolades for his versatility on the stage and screen.
 
Cast member Philip Seymour Hoffman poses at the premiere of the film "A Most Wanted Man" during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Jan. 19, 2014.Cast member Philip Seymour Hoffman poses at the premiere of the film "A Most Wanted Man" during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Jan. 19, 2014.
x
Cast member Philip Seymour Hoffman poses at the premiere of the film "A Most Wanted Man" during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Jan. 19, 2014.
Cast member Philip Seymour Hoffman poses at the premiere of the film "A Most Wanted Man" during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Jan. 19, 2014.
“He was an old shoe of a guy who could just transform himself,” New York stage actress Noelle McGrath said at an earlier vigil, adding that he was one of the most phenomenal character actors ever.
 
From his Tony-nominated role as Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Death of a Salesman” to complex characters in such films as “Happiness,” in which he played an obscene phone caller, and “Before the Devil Knows You're Dead,” Hoffman transfixed audiences with his talent.
 
He also earned Tony award nominations for “Long Day's Journey Into Night” and “True West.”
 
On the big screen, the actor appeared in blockbusters such as “The Hunger Games” series and garnered best supporting actor Oscar nominations for “The Master,” “Doubt” and “Charlie Wilson's War.”
 
Although he talked openly about his past struggles with substance abuse, Hoffman's untimely death was a shock and came just as police spoke of more heroin hitting the streets of New York.
 
“Unfortunately, our city, like America, has got a continuing, constantly changing narcotics problem,” New York NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said after a crime commission meeting on Friday.
 
“The issue of heroin, which has been so much referenced in the death of Mr. Hoffman, is appearing to be increasing again,” he added.
 
Friends and Hollywood stars also paid their respects at a wake on Thursday, and Hoffman was remembered at a candlelight vigil outside the Labyrinth Theater Company in Greenwich Village on Wednesday evening.
 
He had been a member and a former artistic director of the New York company, which is one of the nation's leading ensemble theater groups.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Paquito D'Rivera, who has won 12 Grammys, is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. D'Rivera's latest project, “Jazz Meets the Classics,” was released this month. He joins us on the latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."