Date of Birth: July 23rd 1967
One of Hoffman's earliest major roles was as a defendant in a 1990 episode of the television series Law & Order. He made his film breakthrough in 1992 when he appeared in four feature films, with the most successful film being Scent of a Woman, in which he played a backstabbing classmate of Chris O'Donnell's character. He had been stocking shelves at a city grocery at the time before landing the role and credits the film to kickstarting his career.
Hoffman has established a successful and respected film career playing diverse and idiosyncratic characters in supporting roles, working with a wide variety of noted directors, including Paul Thomas Anderson, The Coen Brothers, Cameron Crowe, Spike Lee, David Mamet, Robert Benton, Todd Solondz and Anthony Minghella; notably, he has appeared in all four of Anderson's feature films to date (Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Punch-Drunk Love).
He appeared in Last Party 2000, a documentary about the 2000 U.S. elections. Throughout his career he has rarely been given a chance to play the lead role. In 2002, however, Hoffman starred as a widower coping with his wife's suicide in Love Liza, for which his brother, Gordy Hoffman, wrote the screenplay. In 2003, he played the lead role in Owning Mahowny as a bank employee who embezzles money to feed his gambling addiction.
Hoffman has continued to play supporting parts in such films as Cold Mountain, as a carnally obsessed preacher, Along Came Polly, as Ben Stiller's crude has-been actor buddy, and Mission: Impossible III, as villainous arms dealer Owen Davian out to kill Ethan Hunt. Hoffman has distinguished himself by playing a wide contrast of characters including gay characters (Boogie Nights, Flawless and Capote), lonely losers (Happiness), spoiled rich brats (Scent of a Woman and The Talented Mr. Ripley), caring and nurturing figures (Magnolia and Almost Famous), vicious thugs (Punch-Drunk Love and Mission: Impossible III), sensitive artists (State and Main), and so on.
He received his first Emmy Award nomination for the HBO miniseries Empire Falls, but lost to fellow castmate and personal idol Paul Newman. One of Hoffman's earliest roles was as a police deputy who gets punched in the face by Newman in 1994's Nobody's Fool.Hoffman as Truman Capote, the real life character for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2005.