Talk:Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Featured article Philip Seymour Hoffman is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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This article has been mentioned by a media organization:
  • Noam Cohen (February 9, 2014). "Wikipedia vs. the Small Screen". New York Times. The Wikipedia page on the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died this month from what appeared to be a drug overdose, highlights the lack of editing on mobile devices. Since Mr. Hoffman’s death, his entry has had more than four million page views. Of the more than 200 editors who updated its content and made hundreds of changes, only two changes were tagged as coming from a mobile phone or tablet, according to Wikipedia data.  (details)

was born[edit]

TThe source is misquoted.Xx234 (talk) 07:56, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

Prose review[edit]

Comments, as requested, from Tim riley
  • Length
    • Loeba particularly asked for comment on whether the article is too long and needs trimming. It doesn't seem in the least too long to me. I have only now looked at the revision history page, and am very surprised to find the article runs to 94,535 bytes. It certainly didn't seem like it when I was reading it; at no point did I think 'Do get on with it'.
      • That's good! --Loeba (talk) 18:02, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Unnecessary links: drug addiction, baptized, wrestling, baseball, blockbuster, cult classic, masturbates.
      • Removed all but blockbuster and cult classic if you can find them Loeba.♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:17, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
        • Unlinked blockbuster, although I personally think there might be some use in linking to cult classic? Don't mind though --Loeba (talk) 18:02, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Duplicate links: Gordy Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Todd Louiso, 2000 presidential election, Edward Norton, 25th Hour, Red Dragon, Academy Award for Best Actor, Capote (2005), Best Supporting Actor, Charlie Wilson's War, Doubt, The Master, Tony Award, True West, Death of a Salesman and Long Day's Journey into Night.
      • All fixed apart frmo the dupes in the awards section, since I think it's useful to link to the awards and titles there...can we ignore all rules?
        • For "Life and works" articles on composers we seem to have got a consensus at FAC that it is OK to have one link from the Life section and another from the Works secion, on the grounds that the latter is so self-contained as to be equivalent to an article in its own right. You might keep this up your sleeve for the FAC of this article.Tim riley talk 10:33, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Lead
    • "seminal roles" – odd choice of adjective. In what way seminal? the OED defines "seminal" in this figurative sense as "Having the properties of seed; containing the possibility of future development. Also, freq. used of books, work, etc., which are highly original and influential; more loosely: important, central to the development or understanding of a subject".
      • I mean roles which are highly original and highly memorable/influential, I've seen a number of notable publications mention his "seminal performances" or roles like this for instance.♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:19, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
        • if "influential" then seminal is all right. Tim riley talk 10:33, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
    • "critical acclaim" – this is the first of thirteen incidences of "acclaim", and after a while this repetition begins to look like puffery.
      • Hehe that's going to be tough eh Loeba, 13 is probably not enough! Difficult to avoid talking about acclaim for an actor as good as this!♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:24, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
        • I went through, and actually most uses of "acclaim" refer to the films. Do you still think it's problematic? --Loeba (talk) 18:05, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
          • Well, "acclaimed" is a pretty strong word, much used by tabloid newspapers and advertising companies, but to be used with caution in an encyclopaedia, I think. Still, if you're happy with using it thirteen times, I shall not press the point. Tim riley talk 10:33, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Early life
    • "Along with one brother, Gordon Jr." – to whom you refer later as Gordy. You might add the contraction in brackets here.
      • added.
    • "Catholic" – Roman Catholic, for preference. There are other kinds of Catholic, such as Anglo-Catholic.
      • Done.
    • "wrestling and baseball,;" – the punctuation has gone awry here.
      • Done.
    • "However, acting gradually became a passion" – "However" is usually unnecessary, and weakens the prose, as it does here, I think. The change in PSH's attitude will be quite clear enough to the reader without the editorialising "however".
      • Removed.
    • "he met future collaborators Bennett Miller and Dan Futterman" – this is ambiguous. Were they his future collaborators or just each other's?
      • added "his"
  • Early career (1991–1995)
    • Date range in header (here and in later sections) – The MoS prescribes the form "1991–95".
  • A rising actor (1996–1999)
    • "a "huge fan base"" – if the phrase is worth putting in quotes it's worth attributing inline.
      • Done
    • "Jason Robards's character" – AmEng form of possessive is usually just ess-apostrophe rather than ess-apostrophe-ess
      • Done
  • Theatrical success and leading roles (2000–2004)
    • "Hoffman's first screen role of the new millennium came in David Mamet's comedy State and Main (2000)" – 2000 was the last year of the old millennium; the new millennium started on 1 January 2001.
      • Changed to year.
        • Hmmmmm, if you get technical, yeah, but surely everyone really considers it the new millenium? It's definitely a part of the current century, at least...surely no-one would try calling 2000 a part of the 20th century? --Loeba (talk) 18:02, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
          • No-one? I would, for one, though I know many don't. Better to be strictly accurate, though. Tim riley talk 10:33, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
    • "but managed" – lacking "he" before managed
      • added
    • "gregariously sharp wit" – not clear how wit can be gregarious
      • removed
  • Critical acclaim (2005–2009)
    • "various other critics awards" – possessive apostrophe missing: "critics' awards"
      • Done.
    • "it carried the benefit of exposing Hoffman" – WP:EDITORIAL. Better just say it exposed, and let your readers decide whether it was a benefit
      • Done.
    • "Hoffman played Iago" – you might at least tell us who played Othello
      • Done
    • "based loosely on the host of Radio Caroline" – as one old enough to have heard the ghastly Radio Caroline in the 1960s I can tell you that it had more than one host. They were uniformly irritating and interchangeable, but you had still better say "a host" rather than "the host".
      • changed.
  • Final years (2010–2014)
    • "both released in the fall of 2011" – the MoS bids us avoid dating things by season if possible, so as to avoid upsetting readers in the opposite hemisphere.
      • Changed to "last third of 2011", does that sound weird? Can't go by quarter because one was release in september and one in october!
    • "and the film is scheduled for release in November 2015" – WP:DATED. Safer to say something that will remain correct even if you don't update it, such as "and it was announced on [date] that the film would be released in November 2015".
      • To be honest, all the previous HUnger Games films have been released in November (of 2012, 2013 and 2014) - I think it's very safe to say they'll stick with the schedule. --Loeba (talk) 18:02, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
        • It isn't that that worried me: it is that unless someone remembers to update the statement it will become out of date once the film is released, whereas the suggested alternative phrasing will remain correct. Tim riley talk 10:33, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Reception and acting style
    • "creeps and cads" – everyone will know what a creep is, but is "cad" common currency nowadays? Perhaps a link to Wiktionary or a WP article if available
      • Can anyone think of a good alternative (that isn't then repeated in the Gilbey quote)?
        • Misfits, no-hopers, lowlifes, scoundrels? Tim riley talk 10:33, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Reaction and legacy
    • "left his entire fortune" – which amounted to?
      • Added (and wow, I didn't expect him to be so wealthy!)
  • Citations
    • Is Rotten Tomatoes accepted as a WP:RS?
      • Yes, very much so, it's the leading website for film reviews. I once thought the same thing, it unfortunately sounds horribly amateurish!♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:29, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
        • Yeah it's used in all the contemporary-actor FAs. --Loeba (talk) 18:02, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
    • "Amber Willkinson" – too many ls.
      • Fixed

That's all from me. Let me know when you take it to FAC, please, and I'll gladly add my two penn'orth there. – Tim riley talk 13:41, 24 December 2014 (UTC) Tim riley Much appreciated dearest Tim, thankyou! Loeba !♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:11, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

Yes big thanks, especially for doing it so promptly. All very helpful. --Loeba (talk) 17:31, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Off here now, and will look in again at the above tomorrow or on Boxing Day, full of seasonal benevolence. Greetings to you both. Tim riley talk 22:16, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Responses now added. Tim riley talk 10:33, 26 December 2014 (UTC)


Two different versions of the lead have been put here recently, and it would be good to have opinions on which is better.

  • Version 1: Gives descriptions of some of his roles.
  • Version 2: Cuts the descriptions, but mentions at the start that he was best known for playing weirdos and mentions at the end that he made these complex and sympathetic. There are other differences (mentions that he was best known for independent films but was also in blockbusters, removes the play titles (mostly for space)).

Pinging everyone who was involved at the FAC: Tim riley, Cassianto, SchroCat, Krimuk90, Sock, Gerda Arendt, Indopug. And anyone watching this talk page, please share your opinion if you have one. Thanks! --Loeba (talk) 16:01, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

    • I know a compromise would be ideal, but the only way I can see that happening is by making the lead quite a bit longer which I definitely don't think would be good. It's already the very longest it should be, IMO (with both versions). It basically comes down to whether the descriptions of his roles, or the general descriptions ("Best known for his supporting and character roles – typically lowlifes, bullies, and misfits", "While mainly known for his work in independent films", "Remembered for his fearlessness in playing reprehensible characters, and for bringing depth and humanity to such roles") are more informative and useful. --Loeba (talk) 16:30, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

I prefer the first one with the added "Best known for his supporting and character roles – typically lowlifes, bullies, and misfits". The new one is far too 'listy' ("Boogie Nights (1997), The Big Lebowski (1998), Magnolia (1999), The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Almost Famous (2000), and 25th Hour (2002)") which makes for difficult reading. One more thing I'd prefer is mentioning fewer minor movies/roles (he had, what, 10 minutes of screentime in Almost Famous?) and a little more detail about the big ones (Synecdoche).—indopug (talk) 16:26, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes I agree it can look a bit listy, which is why I suggested cutting back on a few of the roles mentioned (like Almost Famous etc)♦ Dr. Blofeld 16:35, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
Well we could easily cut back on the films mentioned in #2 to make it less listy. It was just tempting to mention all of them because he actually appeared in quite a few acclaimed films. --Loeba (talk) 16:37, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
I've changed my mind. I just gave your version a close read and it does read a lot better, I like the structuring you did with the blockbusters especially. I restored it but just mentioned the three plays. My initial feeling though was that mentioning some of his actual characters might help inform the reader. Perhaps just mention the character descriptions for the Oscar nominations in Charlie Wilson's War (2007), Doubt (2008), and The Master (2012)? That wouldn't read as too listy or be redundant and a nice overall compromise identifying his most important critical roles.♦ Dr. Blofeld 16:44, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
Ha, okay cool. I've cut back on the titles mentioned so that it's less listy. A huge lead is one of my pet-hates on wikipedia, which is why I'm wary of adding character descriptions for the Oscar roles, but you're right that it would be a compromise... --Loeba (talk) 16:51, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
Agreed with the trim on those, although the one in Lebowski I believe he said is what he is most recognized for so might be mentioned, although it wasn't a big role. I support the current Version 3!♦ Dr. Blofeld 16:56, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
Yup, this has actually worked out very well. You're right that the descriptions of his Oscar roles add some colour, they're worth having. Version 3 is the winner! --Loeba (talk) 17:10, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
Indopug? OK?♦ Dr. Blofeld 17:14, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. Well done guys. One last thing, can we incorporate his appearance ("with a pudgy build and lacking matinée idol") somewhere?—indopug (talk) 17:20, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

Pinged, like the current lead, added the well-deserved star (learned that from br'er) --Gerda Arendt (talk) 20:15, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

Middle name[edit]

Is it actually true that he adopted the name "Seymour" for his grandfather or is it that was already his given middle name and he was given it because of his grandfather? I've read interviews where it's discussed and it's quite ambiguous. He was already credited as Philip S. Hoffman once. Is there any clarification on an actual middle name? Let Me Eat Cake (talk) 21:42, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

I guess it is a bit ambiguous, especially since none of his obituaries mentioned Seymour being a stage name. Unfortunately I no longer have access to Highbeam Research, but I remember that the source I used to write about him adding the name (which was admittedly almost a year ago now) implied that it was only a stage name. In which role do you think he was first credited as Philip S. Hoffman? According to imdb, his first two screen roles (Law and Order and Triple Bogie) were "Philip Hoffman" and "Phil Hoffman". --Loeba (talk) 12:07, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
That article says, "Indeed, Hoffman is the kind of actor who invites curiosity. Even the name is not his own: he added Seymour, his grandfather's name, because US Equity had another Philip Hoffman on their books." (BTW, it's easy to get or renew access to Highbeam via the WP Library.) Softlavender (talk) 10:21, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
So... should it read "Philip Seymour Hoffman (born Philip Hoffman)"? Let Me Eat Cake (talk) 19:44, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

Philip Seymour Hoffman on stage and screen[edit]

Could all the watchers of this article put Philip Seymour Hoffman on stage and screen on their Watch lists also? Especially if this article is going to be the Today's Featured Article on February 2, 2015 and the subsidiary articles will all be heavily viewed as well (and that includes List of awards and nominations received by Philip Seymour Hoffman)? I've just removed some drive-by tags from the top of the article. Thank you. Softlavender (talk) 10:17, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

"Hoffman had German, English, Irish, and Dutch ancestry"[edit]

"Hoffman had German, English, Irish, and Dutch ancestry." What proof do we have of this? It is cited to an undated glorified-blog entry which lists no author. No specifics are given for this claim in the blog -- such as how distant each of these supposed "ancestries" are. I suggest we remove this claim, as its sourcing is not adequate for a FA (or indeed any wiki article), and we have no data on the claim. Especially since people are now adding categories based on this questionable claim. After all, we are all supposedly of African descent, if the DNA experts are to be believed. Do we put that in every biography article? No. Softlavender (talk) 03:39, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

Agreed - I removed this tidbit before the FAC nomination, but it was recently added back. None of the obituaries mentioned his heritage so it obviously wasn't an important part of his identity. It's just a vague hodgepodge of heritages, such as many Americans have, and not worth mentioning. --Loeba (talk) 07:28, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Agreed too, given that it is the usual hodgepodge.♦ Dr. Blofeld 09:23, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

"Remembered for his fearlessness in playing reprehensible characters"[edit]

"Remembered for his fearlessness in playing reprehensible characters, and for bringing depth and humanity to such roles ...." This blanket unsourced unilateral statement appears in the lede. I find it quite jarring, since none of the roles I associate Hoffman with were reprehensible characters, and many of the most memorable were quite loveable characters. I associate him mainly with "loser" or "eccentric" or sometimes "unappealing" characters, but (barring one or two roles) not reprehensible ones. Even the NYT obit used as a ref for the quote at the very end of the sentence does not back up the statement. Could we please remove this blanket statement from the lede? Or modify it and back it up with actual citations that clearly substantiate? Remembered by whom? According to whom? Thank you. Softlavender (talk) 10:17, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

The lead is a summary of all the ideas in the main body. So, the claims made have been substantiated with various sources throughout the article. So, he is remembered by "most critics". And the claim is according to "most critics". Hope that helps. :) -- KRIMUK90  10:22, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
I read the body text and it does not substantiate that statement. It does however substnantiate what I said above: Hoffman is remembered for often playing losers, misfits, eccentrics, loners, addicts, unappealing characters, flawed characters, pathetic characters, lonely characters, twisted characters, and so on. Only three of the dozens of roles roles mentioned are reprehensible characters that I see, and nowhere in the body text is the word "reprehensible" used. In the end he is most remembered for his versatility, and for his ability to make small parts memorable. I think the sentence needs to be either re-worked to reflect reality, or deleted. Softlavender (talk) 11:11, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, "losers, misfits, eccentrics, addicts, unappealing characters, flawed characters, pathetic characters,twisted characters" are generally called reprehensible characters. The exact word need not be used; if it was it would have been in quotation marks. Also, critics have praised him for his fearlessness in playing those characters. Of course one actor will not play only such characters, and Hoffman has played other roles as well, and there is an adequate mention of that in the lead. But in general, those are the roles critics remember him the most for. So, I don't see what the problem is. -- KRIMUK90  13:13, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

The statement is covered by this bit of the article (my own bolding):

Hoffman was praised for his versatility and ability to fully inhabit any role,[10][35] but specialized in playing creeps and misfits: "his CV was populated almost exclusively by snivelling wretches, insufferable prigs, braggarts and outright bullies", writes the journalist Ryan Gilbey.[14] Hoffman was appreciated for making these roles real, complex and even sympathetic;[1][14][19] while Todd Louiso, director of Love Liza, believed that Hoffman connected to people on screen because he looked like an ordinary man and revealed his vulnerability.[154] Xan Brooks of The Guardian remarked that the actor's particular talent was to "take thwarted, twisted humanity and ennoble it".[35] "The more pathetic or deluded the character," writes Gilbey, "the greater Hoffman's relish seemed in rescuing them from the realms of the merely monstrous."

It says that he specialised in these roles, not that it's the only thing he played, and that it was his ability to bring humanity to these roles that critics particularly admired. Perhaps you think "reprehensible" is over the top, and I suppose we could think of an alternative, but it fits in my mind... --Loeba (talk) 16:43, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

"unappealing" is perhaps better, I'll change it to that. --Loeba (talk) 16:46, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
No, I don't agree Loeba, unappealing to whom? Certainly not me. "Deplorable" I'd would write it as personally, and we have the sources to back that up, particularly the almost exclusively by snivelling wretches, insufferable prigs, braggarts and outright bullies" . "Unlikeable" might also fit but I prefer reprehensible or deplorable.♦ Dr. Blofeld 17:53, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Deplorable would be too strong IMO (defined as "deserving strong condemnation; completely unacceptable", compared to reprehensible's "deserving censure or condemnation"). But sure change it back to reprehensible, fine by me. --Loeba (talk) 18:20, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Reprehensible is better.♦ Dr. Blofeld 18:25, 2 February 2015 (UTC)


It is hard to improve on this wonderfully written article. I would only suggest adding one word to summarize what was said so many times in the article: that Hoffman was a very versatile character actor capable of taking on almost any role imaginable with uncanny ease.

In the following passage I suggest adding the word "MULTIFACETED":

Warmly received by critics, the film grew into a cult classic[10][27] and it has been cited as the role in which Hoffman first showed his full multifaceted ability.

I would like to add this single word to the article. I won't make the edit until at least two or three other editors agree with my suggestion. And the author's approval would be nice to have as well.

Many sides, many faces, many characters: that is the definition of multifaceted. That is Hoffman to a "T". And he was a real gem, too.

--EditorExtraordinaire (talk) 15:15, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

I came here to say that we couldn't add it to that sentence as it wouldn't be backed by the source, but actually it is! The source says: "It was as full a range of human emotion that you can find in a single scene, a portrait of the variety of humanity." So as far as I'm concerned, you can go ahead and add it. Glad you are impressed by the article! --Loeba (talk) 16:51, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

The article is of immense quality and deserves its "time in the sun" as a featured article.--EditorExtraordinaire (talk) 17:26, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

Thankyou MWP. Yes, I was going to say the same thing and question you adding it because of the source but you're right, it's OK. Cheers.♦ Dr. Blofeld 17:51, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

Formatting Issue[edit]

The phase "by the Screen Actors Guild" that is flushed left looks so odd sitting there by itself. I have played with this for awhile and haven't found an easy way to push that phase over to the right with the rest of the paragraph to which it belongs. It isn't a big issue or problem but from a visual standpoint it might need some attention. It is likely an easy fix for someone more experienced than me. Maybe it's just my browser that shows it off to the left?--EditorExtraordinaire (talk) 18:05, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

It's your browser, yes, I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about!♦ Dr. Blofeld 18:07, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
It completely depends on the size of the screen being used, the size of the font, etc. For me "also nominated by the Screen Actors Guild." is on its own line, which shows that we get different things. Thus there's just no point worrying about it :) Cheers --Loeba (talk) 18:17, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

I didn't see these notes, so I will go put it back the way it was.EditorExtraordinaire (talk) 23:04, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

List of awards and nominations received by Philip Seymour Hoffman[edit]

List of awards and nominations received by Philip Seymour Hoffman just got turned into a redirect, without discussion, so there is currently no record on Wikipedia of the complete or precise awards and nominations received by Hoffman. Softlavender (talk) 15:18, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

It was nearly completely unsourced. WP:BLP still applies to Hoffman for another year or so, and an article that makes hundreds of unsourced statements about it falls under it. Feel free to verify the information that was there and restore it, with citations, per WP:BURDEN.—Kww(talk) 15:31, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
As always, you're full of bullshit Kww. It simply needs sourcing, in fact I think it would be worth getting to FL status. To delete the whole thing and redirect just illustrates that an editor of your ilk has no place editing here.♦ Dr. Blofeld 20:11, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

There's no need to delete or redirect this article: add sources, don't delete content. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:17, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

For an actor as acclaimed as P.S. Hoffman it's vital to have a comprehensive list of awards and nominations, and it's what readers will be looking for. It does need sourcing improvement, but to delete the whole thing and redirect just looks like you're looking for trouble Kww. Why don't you stick to running hotels in Bonaire instead?♦ Dr. Blofeld 20:24, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

Jack Goes Boating (film)[edit]

I don't know how to resolve this. With a Featured Article I'm unlikely to be able to change much of anything. But the movie's article has only positive reviews. I was all set to make changes here and there were specific "mediocre" reviews. It seems to me the praise for the movie mentioned in its own article should at least be mentioned here, and the criticism from here should be there. I have really slow Internet and can't really spend the time accessing all the sources from home, but then I can't make the decision about what to change myself.— Vchimpanzee • talk • contributions • 20:52, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

Posthumous Appearances[edit]

He appears in the final Hunger Game films a few years after his death. He may have other posthumous appearances. I heard one report that he has appeared posthumously via digital reconstruction based on 3d images of him. What is the real story about his Posthumous Appearances? Thanks! --Lbeaumont (talk) 02:30, 17 April 2016 (UTC)