Hoffman in June 2015
|Born||Gabriella Mary Hoffmann
January 8, 1982
New York City, New York
Calabasas High School
|Alma mater||Bard College|
Anthony Herrera (father)
Gabriella Mary "Gaby" Hoffmann (born January 8, 1982) is an American film and television actress best known for her roles on Transparent and Girls, which garnered her nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2015, respectively. Additionally, she is remembered as a child actress from the films Field of Dreams, Uncle Buck, Now and Then, and Volcano.
Hoffmann was born in New York City. Her mother, Viva (born Janet Susan Mary Hoffmann), is an actress, writer and former Warhol superstar, and her father, Anthony Herrera, was a soap actor best known for his role as James Stenbeck from As the World Turns. Viva and Herrera were estranged shortly after Hoffmann's birth; she was raised by her mother at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. Her father did not have a significant presence in her life. Hoffmann's birth is documented in Brigid Berlin's The Andy Warhol Diaries. An entry dated January 10, 1982, two days after Hoffmann was born, says that a friend of Warhol’s telephoned Warhol and told him that they were going to the Chelsea Hotel to see Viva and her new baby.
Hoffmann's mother was raised in a devout Catholic family on Long Island, the daughter of a well-known attorney. She was previously married to director Michel Auder in 1969, and Hoffmann has a half-sister, Alexandra "Alex" Auder, who is 11 years older. Auder is a yoga teacher in New York City.
Hoffmann attended P.S. 3 on Hudson Street in the West Village, then another school in Hell's Kitchen. After she moved to Los Angeles in 1994, she attended the prestigious Buckley School, before finally graduating from Calabasas High School in 1999.
Life at the Chelsea Hotel
Until 1993, Hoffmann lived in Manhattan's fabled, now landmarked, Chelsea Hotel, which Hoffmann later said she enjoyed. According to Hoffmann, she and her best friend Talya Shomron would roller-skate in the hallways, spy on the drug dealer across the hall, and persuade the bellman to go to the neighborhood deli at night and get them ice cream. Hoffmann and her mother left the Chelsea Hotel in July 1993 after a long-standing dispute with the management, but the hotel ended up featuring prominently in Hoffmann’s future. The idea for the 1994 sitcom Someone Like Me originated after Gail Berman (former president of Viacom's Paramount Pictures), the show's producer, read a New York Times article about the hotel which referred to a children's book which Viva and friend Jane Lancellotti wrote entitled Gaby at the Chelsea (a take on Kay Thompson’s 1950s classic Eloise books).
On her childhood: "I grew up in downtown New York in the '80s. I have a friend who grew up with me, and she puts it well. She says, 'If you grew up where we grew up, if you weren't an artist, a drag queen, queer, or a drug addict, then you were the freak.' I grew up in a world where I guess what is considered unusual or abnormal for the rest of America was very much considered the norm."
When Hoffmann was 11, after leaving the Chelsea, Hoffmann and her mother moved to the west coast to a two-bedroom rented house in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California which ended up being badly damaged in the January 17, 1994 Northridge earthquake. While regrouping their living situation, Gaby and her mother temporarily lived at The Oceana Suites Hotel in Santa Monica.
After she graduated from Calabasas High School in 1999, Hoffmann followed her half-sister's example and entered New York's Bard College to pursue a degree in literature. Starting in 2001, she put her acting career on hold to complete her studies. She graduated in 2003, and then spent much of her 20s drifting. She interned with a chef in Italy, and then trained to be a doula after helping deliver her sister Alex's children. For a time, Hoffmann and a boyfriend lived in an old trailer in the Catskills.
Early acting career
Hoffmann began her acting career at the age of four to help pay the family bills by acting in commercials. However, she grew tired of the rigorous schedules and temporarily retired. Nevertheless, upon hearing that Macaulay Culkin was making a lot of money from his movies her "competitive spirit got the best of her," as she later put it, and she re-entered the profession. In 1989, she starred in her first movie, Field of Dreams, with Kevin Costner. She followed this up with 1989’s Uncle Buck with John Candy (as well as Macaulay Culkin) and then went on to star in This Is My Life (1992), Sleepless in Seattle (1993) with Tom Hanks and The Man Without a Face with Mel Gibson. According to Hoffmann, it was the praise she received for her performance in This is My Life which encouraged her to pursue a full-time acting career in Hollywood as it gave her the confidence she needed to handle major roles.
In 1994, Hoffmann was given the starring role in her own sitcom Someone Like Me (on NBC) about a young girl, Gaby, and her dysfunctional family. Although generally well received, the show only lasted six episodes. Publicity work for the show included personal appearances by Hoffmann on late night talk shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Show with David Letterman.
In 1995, Hoffmann played Andrea Eagerton in the CBS TV film Whose Daughter Is She?
Teen and college years: 1996–2003
Between 1996 and 2000, Hoffmann landed roles in several films including Everyone Says I Love You (1996), Volcano (1997), Snapped (1998), The Hairy Bird (1998), 200 Cigarettes (1999), Coming Soon (1999), Black & White (1999), You Can Count on Me (2000), and Perfume (2001).
Theatre work in New York: 2003–2007
Between 2003 and 2007, Hoffmann largely concentrated on a theatre career in New York. Roles included 24 Hour Plays (as Denise at the American Airlines Theatre), The Sugar Syndrome (Williamstown Theatre Festival - July/August 2005), and Third (Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater/Lincoln Center Theater - September - December 2005). In late 2005, she starred in an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. She also appeared in the Broadway play Suburbia, alongside Kieran Culkin and Jessica Capshaw at the Second Stage Theatre on 43rd Street in New York City, which ran from September to October 2006. Hoffmann then returned to the 24 Hours Plays where she acted alongside Jennifer Aniston.
Return to film work: 2007–present
Since 2007, Hoffmann has made a gradual return to film acting. In 2007, she starred in the film Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America. In 2008, she appeared in Guest of Cindy Sherman, a documentary on art-scene commentator Paul Hasegawa-Overacker's relationship with enigmatic photographer Cindy Sherman. Later in 2008, Hoffmann appeared in the documentary Chelsea on the Rocks, which is a tribute to the Chelsea Hotel where she grew up. Directed by Abel Ferrara, the documentary highlights the many personalities and artistic voices that have emerged from the legendary residence.
More recently, Hoffmann has starred alongside Michael Cera in Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus (2013). While shooting the 2013 film Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus in Chile, Hoffmann and costar Michael Cera took mescaline for her performance in a climactic scene.
In 2013, she completed work on the lead role of a Web series entitled Lyle, created by Stewart Thorndike and Jill Soloway. It was shot in NYC. She subsequently acquired an apartment in Brooklyn's Fort Greene section. In October 2013, she starred in the 1910s installment of Vanity Fair's The Decades Series, "The First March", directed by Gilly Barnes.
Hoffmann has discussed her full frontal nude scenes in a few of her recent projects including Crystal Fairy, Girls and the Amazon series Transparent. On nudity, Hoffmann said: "People are obsessed with actresses being hairless, fatless Barbie dolls. They can’t imagine that people would want to be anything other than that. When they are, it's looked at as almost a political statement. Look at Lena Dunham. She is a gorgeous woman and people can’t stop talking about how brave she is to show herself naked, which I find totally condescending and ridiculous. If Angelina Jolie was naked onscreen no one would say she was brave. The implication is that Lena’s brave because she doesn’t look the way she’s supposed to look. I think that’s a shame."
|1989||Field of Dreams||Karin Kinsella|
|1989||Uncle Buck||Maizy Russell|
|1992||This Is My Life||Opal Ingels|
|1993||Sleepless in Seattle||Jessica|
|1993||Man Without a Face, TheThe Man Without a Face||Megan Norstadt|
|1995||Now and Then||Samantha "Sam" Albertson|
|1995||Freaky Friday||Annabelle Andrews||Television film|
|1995||Whose Daughter Is She?||Andrea Eagerton||Television film|
|1996||Everyone Says I Love You||Lane Dandridge|
|1998||Hairy Bird, TheThe Hairy Bird||Odette Sinclair|
|1999||Coming Soon||Jenny Simon|
|1999||Black and White||Raven|
|2000||You Can Count on Me||Sheila Seidleman|
|2007||Severed Ways||Orn's Wife|
|2009||Life During Wartime||Wanda|
|2011||Wolfe with an E||Karen|
|2011||Surrogate Mary, TheThe Surrogate Mary||Sally|
|2012||Nate & Margaret||Darla|
|2013||Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus||Crystal Fairy|
|2013||All That I Am||Susan|
|2014||Veronica Mars||Ruby Jetson|
|1994||Someone Like Me||Gaby Stepjak||6 episodes|
|2005||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Rachel Burnett||Episode: "The Good Child"|
|2009||Eastmans, TheThe Eastmans||Dr. Sally Eastman||Pilot|
|2010||Private Practice||Emily||Episode: "Just Lose It"|
|2011||Good Wife, TheThe Good Wife||Rhonda Cerone||Episode: "Killer Song"|
|2011||Homeland||CNN Producer||Episode: "Clean Skin"|
|2012||Louie||April||Episode: "Something Is Wrong"|
|2014–2015||Girls||Caroline Sackler||6 episodes|
|2014–present||Transparent||Alexandria “Ali” Pfefferman||10 episodes|
|1990||Young Artist Award||Best Young Actress Supporting Role in a Motion Picture||Field of Dreams||Won|
|1993||Young Artist Award||Best Young Actress Under Ten in a Motion Picture||This Is My Life||Nominated|
|1994||Young Artist Award||Best Youth Actress Co-Starring in a Motion Picture Drama||The Man Without a Face||Nominated|
|1995||Young Artist Award||Best Youth Comedienne in a TV Show||Someone Like Me||Nominated|
|1996||Young Artist Award||Best Performance by a Young Ensemble - Feature Film or Video||Now and Then||Nominated|
|1997||YoungStar Award||Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy Film||Everyone Says I Love You||Nominated|
|2014||Independent Spirit Award||Best Female Lead||Crystal Fairy||Nominated|
|2015||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series||Girls||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Transparent||Nominated|
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