Photo: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
In the wake of last week's tragic and untimely passing of acting god Philip Seymour Hoffman, friends, fans and colleagues, have paid tribute to the actor in their own ways. Those close to him remember what a loving father and loyal friend he was. Those of us who didn't know him personally are grateful for the unparalleled acting oeuvre he left behind. It's been bittersweet reminiscing about his many iconic performances while rediscovering the lesser-known ones. His collaborators meanwhile, and there have been many, have been effusive in their praise of Hoffman the artist. Over the course of his career, the actor collaborated with some of the most talented people in the business, and they've come out in droves since his death, recounting memories of a deeply committed and uncommonly brave performer, the kind that surfaces once in a generation.
One of the most touching and illuminating recollections came from Almost Famous director Cameron Crowe. In the coming-of-age-classic, Hoffman plays the legendary rock critic Lester Bangs, whose moving phone conversation with the young Patrick Fugit became one of the film's most poignant centerpieces. Crowe recently took to his website to recall what it was like to watch true genius at work:
"When the scene was over, I realized that Hoffman had pulled off a magic trick. He’d leapt over the words and the script, and gone hunting for the soul and compassion of the private Lester, the one only a few of us had ever met. Suddenly the portrait was complete. The crew and I will always be grateful for that front row seat to his genius."