RIP, Philip Seymour Hoffman

If you like to gamble
I tell you I’m your man
You win some, lose some
All the same to me
The pleasure is to play
Makes no difference what you say
I don’t share your greed
The only card I need is…

I know Mistermix already posted about this, but I am very, very upset about the death of PSH. He was talented on so many levels, and having dealt with family and friends with heroin addiction, it is also a little personal. This detail from the latest NYT piece stood out:

The plastic envelopes near Mr. Hoffman’s body that were believed to be heroin were stamped with two drug brands: one had purple letters spelling the words Ace of Spades and the other had a red icon of the ace of hearts, according to a law-enforcement official.

There is something in the DNA of men and women like this that just makes them gamblers and livers, and they live hard and burn out way too damned quickly. I’m not trying to glamorize his death in any way, because what he did was just such a stupid and selfish and idiotic thing, and he of all people knew as much, and now there are young kids who will grow up without their dad and a woman who has lost the love of her life. But there is just something about this kind of personality and that god damned smack. I guess Jerry and Lowell George and everyone else in that stupid fucking club decided that they needed some good acting talent, and brought Phillip home, where he will, no doubt, fit in perfectly.

So goddamned sad. Everything he ever touched as an actor was made better.

BTW- he recently did a stint in rehab, and since we really don’t know anything and junkies are total liars, there is no way to know right now if he had been clean since or if he was still chipping to keep regular and just got a strong dose. A lot of relapsing heroin addicts die within a close time period from their latest stint in detox and rehab because their bodies get weaned off the drug, and then when a couple months later when they relapse, they use the amount they were using before and their body just doesn’t have the tolerance it had a few months back, and they overdose.

It doesn’t fucking matter, though, because he’s dead. Such a tragedy.

72 replies
  1. 1
    Mudge says:

    DPM gives us the facts. You give us the heart.

  2. 2
    JPL says:

    It’s really sad but not necessarily selfish. Selfish has to take some type of thought process and I’m not sure that’s where he was at. RIP

  3. 3
    Violet says:

    Figured it might hit close to home since you have always said he’d play you in the John Cole biopic. He’s one of my very favorite actors. So tragic. RIP.

  4. 4
    gf120581 says:

    “So goddamn sad. Everything he touched as an actor was made better.”

    You got that right. I don’t think Hoffman gave a bad performance in his entire life. Even in shit like “Patch Adams” he was compelling.

    Fortunately, there weren’t many of those. He had a knack for choosing good films. Even his popcorn movies tended to be good or at least entertaining ones.

    I wonder how this will affect the last two “Hunger Games” movies. It’s not nearly as big an issue for them as Paul Walker’s death was for “Fast and Furious,” but still.

    Just a tragedy. Another great actor cut down before his time.

  5. 5
    Helen says:

    Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead is one of his lesser known, but best performances. Awesome.

  6. 6
    PsiFighter37 says:

    I read somewhere they he fell off the wagon after 23 years sober last year. Awful that he wasn’t able to fight back. RIP.

  7. 7
    Roger Moore says:

    Wow; I’ve gotten used to DougJ’s preferences in musical references, but I didn’t expect to see a Motörhead quote.

  8. 8

    One slight correction, John. Mr. Hoffman spelled his first name with one “L.”

    (Take it from someone who’s been corrected on that.)

  9. 9
    gf120581 says:

    @Helen: Sidney Lumet’s last film as a director too. Thankfully he went out on top.

    Hoffman leaves behind one great body of work. At least we can be thankfull for that, even if we wish he could have given us so much more.

  10. 10
    jharp says:

    I have had 2 friends lose sons to heroin overdoses.

    Devastating. Just awful.

  11. 11
    jharp says:

    Hey Violet,

    Did your trees survive?

  12. 12
    Pogonip says:

    If heroin were a prescription drug, to manage addictions, I wonder if it would make difference? Or would people inclined to addiction move to something else? It does seem sometimes that the excitement is as addictive as the drug.

  13. 13
    Ben Franklin says:

    I blame the Gateway Drug (schedule 1) Mary Jane. She is subtle, and needs close watching.

  14. 14
    BGinCHI says:

    If I was writing his obit I’d say he lost a hand with two aces, but that would be too prosaic.

    It’s just a sad and stupid end to what was a great life, at least in his chosen craft. I have no idea how he was as a human being.

    Prine’s song “Sam Stone” always comes to mind when this shit happens. I don’t know what made the hole in PSH’s heart, but clearly he had one.

    His poor kids.

  15. 15
    Violet says:

    @jharp: Yes, they seem to have survived. I had Christmas lights under some of them to add some warmth. Some look a bit nipped but they’re okay.

  16. 16
    JPL says:

    @Pogonip: Nixon actually understood the problem and started methadone clinics. It’s a strong addiction and sometimes you need help.

  17. 17
    Violet says:

    This Rob Riggle/James Franco commercial is making me laugh. Love the tiger.

  18. 18
    Mnemosyne says:


    It was in several places — I think I posted this link from US Magazine with the initial rehab reporting. Apparently he started abusing prescription pills after 20+ years sober, escalated back to heroin, and that was all it took. He got out of rehab in late May of last year.

    Constant vigilance. If you’re a true addict or alcoholic, your brain will always be trying to trick you back into using no matter how long you’ve been sober and for some people, the most dangerous time is when they’re feeling good (maybe a little bored with sobriety) and think this time they can keep it from spiraling out of control.

  19. 19
    Violet says:

    @gf120581: That is a tough movie to watch, but so many terrific performances. PSH is really good. So’s Marissa Tomei.

  20. 20
    Belafon says:

    @Ben Franklin: I blame acting. Seems a more likely candidate.

  21. 21
    Ben Franklin says:


    Seems a more likely candidate.

    But you have your thinking cap on. How many can say that?

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    Yep, nothing funnier than someone dying alone with a needle in his arm. What other jokes can we make over PSH’s corpse about how addiction doesn’t really exist?

  23. 23
    Anne Laurie says:

    PSH did such a great job in Doubt. You could totally believe his character Father Flynn was a monster who sexually abused eighth graders and also a damaged soul who truly cared about the kids he was “giving special attention”.

  24. 24
    Carrie says:

    So very sad, he was such a talented artist. You can’t watch him on screen without feeling like you were a part of that character, he moved you to empathy.

  25. 25
    Neldob says:

    And just recently the governor of Vermont spent his whole state of the state speech on the prevalence of heroin, how it is now a huge public health issue that no one seems to be willing to address. Too horrible to even talk about, must keep it in the shadows. There is an anti-overdose medication that should make overdose deaths extinct, but the shame and blame level is too heavy. How terribly sad for his family and those who loved him.

  26. 26
    Ben Franklin says:


    Thanks for the confession. Good to see you are on the road to recovery from contrarianism.

  27. 27
    Anne Laurie says:

    Another clip from Doubt, because wow. We lost a great actor today.

  28. 28
    Mnemosyne says:


    There apparently is some nasty tainted heroin making the rounds — this story is about it being found in Pennsylvania, but someone said earlier that it’s made its way to Vermont as well. It’s being mixed with fentanyl, which is so much stronger that it’s very easy for someone to accidentally overdose if they think they’re using their normal shot of pure heroin.

  29. 29
    Ben Franklin says:


    How about high potency Ganja? I hear there are rumors of deaths, even pain relief.

  30. 30
    maeve says:

    Owning Mahoney is a movie that could have no one else in the role except PSH – it’s about gambling addiction – Roger Ebert has a great review (with spoilers) but here are some excerpts:

    “Owning Mahowny” is about a man seized helplessly with tunnel vision, in the kind of tunnel that has no light at either end. He is a gambler. Cut off temporarily by his bookie, he asks incredulously, “What am I supposed to do? Go out to the track and watch ?” Given the means to gamble, he gambles–thoughtless of the consequences, heedless of the risks, caught in the vise of a power greater than himself. Like all addictive gamblers, he seeks the sensation of losing more money than he can afford. To win a great deal before losing it all back again creates a kind of fascination: Such gamblers need to confirm over and over that they cannot win.

    Philip Seymour Hoffman, that fearless poet of implosion, plays the role with a fierce integrity, never sending out signals for our sympathy because he knows that Mahowny is oblivious to our presence. Like an artist, an athlete or a mystic, Mahowny is alone within the practice of his discipline.

    There have been many good movies about gambling, but never one that so single-mindedly shows the gambler at his task.

    It’s sad now to realize why PSH was so good in the role.

  31. 31
    John Cole says:

    @Ben Franklin: It amazes me how something as tragic like this can expose a long time commenter as being a total fucking moron and asshole.

    Oh, and since you don’t seem too bright, that was me calling you a total fucking moron and an asshole.

  32. 32
    Ruckus says:

    @John Cole:
    Beat me to it.

  33. 33
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    Because the 22 people who are documented to have died so far were just lowly junkies, so their deaths are funny!

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @John Cole: This is what the guy is always like.

  35. 35
    Ben Franklin says:

    @John Cole:

    Or, a

    Rampant Douchebag


    Not to quote you verbatim, but you do have rules amirite?

  36. 36
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Nobody played ambiguity better.

  37. 37
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Getting me banned again for 6 months for ‘rampant douchebaggery’ fits your narrative, amirite?

  38. 38

    Let’s not forget his work on the stage, including the revival of Death of a Salesman in 2012, plus Long Day’s Journey Into Night. I’m glad he did so well in film — Capote is stunning — so the rest of the world could see his craft and unbounded talent.

  39. 39
    jharp says:


    I am happy for you.

    We have emerald ash borer coming to us soon. It is now in the next county and it kills pretty much all of the ash trees. Ash trees are plentiful and wonderful so it is a big loss.

    And then 100 miles away in Cincinnati some fungus is killing all of the walnut trees.

    I find it distressing as I have long been a tree lover.

  40. 40
    Ben Franklin says:


    Where was the humor? And don’t say that you picked up on it, as you are without humor.

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ben Franklin: I don’t have a narrative. I just think you are an ass. I have never called for the banning of any commenter – and, if I did, it wouldn’t matter since it’s not my blog.

  42. 42
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    I have no idea why you find the deaths of 22 people humorous. Maybe you can explain it for us.

  43. 43
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Lawyer !. You were silent on my ban for rampant douchebaggery, which was Coles raison d’etre, when he couldn’t find a rule, epic asshole.

  44. 44
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ben Franklin: It’s Cole’s blog. Take it up with him. And did you, for some reason, think I was supposed speak up on your behalf?

  45. 45
    Ben Franklin says:


    Your thinking cap is a baseball cap.

    The fact that Marijuana REMAINS a schedule 1 drug is an amazing bit of legal and bureaucratic humor without any equal. But I’m sure that humor escapes you, as well.

  46. 46
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I was supposed speak up on your behalf?

    Or, that of 1st amendment as a LAWYER? That is laughable.

  47. 47
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ben Franklin: Dude, Cole isn’t the government. Perhaps you shouldn’t post while stoned.

  48. 48
    aimai says:

    @Ben Franklin: Obviously there is no first amendment right to be a jerk on a private blog. Why do you think the constitution protects your right to be an asshole? It doesn’t.

  49. 49
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    LAWYERS are the gubmint. For once you hit the pay button.

  50. 50
    eemom says:

    Well said, Cole….I feel the same way. Such a tragic loss.

    Was just watching him in one of his earlier films the other night, and thinking about how he looked like you. Except for having ears.

    @Ben Franklin:

    Jesus Christ dude, you aren’t always this bad. Why not quit while you’re behind?

  51. 51
    Ben Franklin says:


    Jesus Christ dude, you aren’t always this bad. Why not quit while you’re behind?

    Praise from Caesar, but thanks for having my back.

  52. 52
    Ruckus says:

    @Ben Franklin:
    What the hell are you on?
    We need to make warning labels for the rest of us.

  53. 53
    Ben Franklin says:


    You can’t have any. You couldn’t handle it. You couldn’t handle banana peels.

  54. 54
    Ruckus says:

    @Ben Franklin:
    I don’t want any of it. I’m just a little bit smarter than that.

    It’s pretty obvious that you can’t handle it either.

  55. 55
    Ben Franklin says:


    omfg. I said ‘banana peels’. Truly you should refrain from ANY substance that doesn’t have Soy.

  56. 56
    Ruckus says:

    @Ben Franklin:
    On a topic that hits close to home for the blog owner you turn stupid up to 11. Then you pile on. You are not funny. Not in any way. You are pathetic.
    I’m done.

  57. 57
    Ben Franklin says:


    On a topic that hits close to home

    Since I don’t make camp here, that’s news to me. I will try harder to enable the narcissism.

  58. 58
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    I know Mistermix already posted about this, but I am very, very upset about the death of PSH. He was talented on so many levels, and having dealt with family and friends with heroin addiction, it is also a little personal.

    The first two sentences following the lyric quote at the beginning of this very blog post.

  59. 59
    bob h says:

    I think his greatest role was his last, “The Master”. I also saw him in a mind-blowing “Long Days Journey Into Night” in NY, one of my most memorable theater experiences.

  60. 60
    cckids says:

    I watched “Pirate Radio” 2 days ago with my son, it isn’t one of his bigger roles, but, as always, he just inhabits it & makes it so real. Just a sad, sad end.

  61. 61
    dp says:

    Just, yes.

  62. 62
  63. 63
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    Damn, but he was a great actor. I watched “Charlie Wilson’s War” tonight in his honor/memory. The camera just loves him and he just takes a role over. By the way, who were “Jerry” and “Lowell George”?

  64. 64
    Ruckus says:

    @phoebes-in-santa fe:
    Jerry Garcia – Grateful Dead and guitarist Lowell George.

  65. 65
    GregB says:


    If there’s a rock-n-roll heaven, you know they got a hell of a band.

  66. 66
    Petorado says:

    There’s nothing worse than seeing someone who put so much good into the world being taken out by something that does so much bad. Condolences go out to everyone who has to piece their lives back together in the wake of this bad news. I’ll bet it’s way too many people.

  67. 67
    Ruckus says:

    I have some GD music, most of it given to me, but I’m just not that much of a fan. Don’t really know why or have a reason other than the music just doesn’t do a lot for me. Now could they play well and bring down the house? Yes, yes they could. Maybe I was just never enough of a stoner.

  68. 68
    Irony Abounds says:

    Yes, it is a very sad thing, and yes he was a great actor, but something always bothers me just a bit when people go on and on about how tragic it is when high profile people die as a result of their own behavior. I save “tragic” for those cases where ordinary people die from random violence over which they have absolutely nothing to do with, or young people who for no reason other than bad luck die from cancer. ALS victims are truly tragic figures, as are people who die in a car accident when the other drive is solely to blame. I recognize addicts have little control over their addictions, and I’m not discounting the sadness associated with PSH’s death, it’s just that I simply can’t get quite as upset about situations such as his when there are thousands of people dying every day under what I consider to be truly tragic situations.

  69. 69
    Paul in KY says:

    Motorhead had a song about the Ace of Spades. That might be what the exerpt is above…

    Very sad.

  70. 70
    brendancalling says:

    I’m angry too.

    Three little kids get to grow up without their dad. Addiction is a horrible selfish thing.

  71. 71
    wenchacha says:

    I have a good friend who is a binge-drinking alcoholic. I don’t know when drinking turned toxic for her, but her life has been filled with tragedy and loss of the sort that is painful to imagine. She is smart, funny, and loving. She loves everyone but herself, and she punishes herself with the bottle.

    I cannot think of her as a selfish person. But the bottle takes control of her, and she becomes a different person. It is a tragedy for her, and for all of us who love her.

  72. 72
    Mrs. J R in WV says:

    I, too, was entranced with PHS’ performance in “Long Day’s Journey into Night.”

    It also starred Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Dennehy, yet it was Hoffman’s performance that has stayed with me since.

    A real loss, regardless. Addiction is an illness that no one should have to suffer.

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