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Dustin Lee Hoffman (born August 8, 1937) is an Academy Award Winning American actor who has had an active career in film, television, and theatre since 1960. He first drew critical praise for the 1966 Off-Broadway play Eh? for which he won a Theatre World Award and a Drama Desk Award. This was soon followed by his breakout movie role as Ben Braddock in the 1967 film The Graduate. After the success of this film, Hoffman's career has largely been focused in cinema with only sporadic returns to television and the stage. Some of his more important films are Midnight Cowboy (1969), Little Big Man (1970), Lenny (1974), All the President's Men (1976), Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), Tootsie (1982), Rain Man (1988), Hook (1991), Sleepers (1996), Wag the Dog (1997), Meet The Fockers (2004), and Last Chance Harvey (2008).

Respected for his versatility, Hoffman has won two Academy Awards, six Golden Globes, three BAFTAs, three Drama Desk Awards, and an Emmy Award. Dustin Hoffman received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1999.

Early life

Hoffman was born in Los Angeles, Californiamarker, the son of Lillian (née Gold) and Harry Hoffman, who worked as a prop supervisor/set decorator at Columbia Pictures before becoming a furniture salesman. Hoffman was named after stage and silent screen actor Dustin Farnum. His brother, Ronald, is a lawyer and economist. Hoffman is from a Jewish family, although he did not have a religious upbringing. He graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1955. He enrolled at Santa Monica Collegemarker with the intention of studying medicine but left after a year to join the Pasadena Playhousemarker.

Career

Early career

Hoffman began acting at the Pasadena Playhousemarker with Gene Hackman. After two years at the playhouse, Hackman headed for New York City, and Hoffman soon followed. He worked a series of odd jobs, including coat checking at restaurants, working in the typing department of the city Yellow Pages directory, and stringing Hawaiian leis, while getting the occasional bit television role. To support himself, he left acting briefly to teach. He worked as a professional fragrance tester for Maxwell House. He also did the occasional television commercial. An often-replayed segment on programs that explore actors' early work is a clip showing Hoffman touting the Volkswagen Fastback.

In 1960, Hoffman landed a role in an off-Broadway production and followed with a walk-on role in a Broadwaymarker production in 1961. Hoffman then studied at the famed Actors Studiomarker and became a dedicated method actor. His first critical success was in Eh? by Henry Livings which had its US premiere Off-Broadway at the Circle in the Square Downtown on October 16, 1966.

Through the early and mid-1960s, Hoffman made appearances in television shows and movies, including Naked City, The Defenders and Hallmark Hall of Fame. Hoffman made his theatrical film debut in The Tiger Makes Out in 1967, alongside Eli Wallach.

Between acting jobs, Hoffman also made ends meet by teaching acting at a community college night school, and by directing off-broadway and community theater productions. In 1967, immediately after wrapping up principal filming on The Tiger Makes Out, Hoffman flew from New York City to Fargo, North Dakotamarker, where he directed a production of William Saroyan's The Time of Your Life for the Emma Herbst Community Theatre. The $1,000 he received for the eight-week contract was all he had to hold him over until the funds from the movie materialized.

Major roles

Hoffman in France (1985)
In 1966, Mike Nichols began casting The Graduate. Negotiations with Warren Beatty and Robert Redford fell through, and Hoffman auditioned for the role. Before Hoffman, Charles Grodin had also been in consideration for the role but, according to one anecdote, refused to work for the amount offered. Hoffman had been set to play the role of Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind in Mel Brooks' 1968 movie The Producers, but dropped out when he landed the role of Benjamin Braddock, opposite Anne Bancroft, Brooks' wife. The film began production in March 1967. Hoffman received an Academy Award nomination for his performance. After the success of this film, another Hoffman film, Madigan's Millions, shot before The Graduate, was released on the tail of the actor's newfound success. It was considered a failure at the box office.

In December 1968 Hoffman returned to Broadway to appear in the title role of Murray Schisgal and John Sebastian's musical Jimmy Shine. For his performance in the production Hoffman won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance. Just a few weeks after leaving the production, Hoffman's next major film Midnight Cowboy premiered in theatres across the United States on 25 May 1969. For his role as Ratso Rizzo in the film, Hoffman received his second Oscar nomination and the film won the Best Picture honor. This was followed by his role in Little Big Man, where he played Jack Crabb, who ages from teenager to a 121-year-old man in the film. The film was widely praised by critics, but was overlooked for an award except for a supporting nomination for Chief Dan George.

Hoffman continued to appear in major films over the next few years. Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?, Straw Dogs, and Papillon were followed by Lenny in 1974, for which Hoffman received his third nomination for Best Actor in seven years.

Hoffman talks to extras on the set of Lenny in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (1974)
Less than two years after the Watergate scandal, Hoffman and Robert Redford starred as Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, respectively, in All the President's Men. Hoffman next starred in Marathon Man, a film based on William Goldman's novel of the same name, opposite Laurence Olivier. Hoffman's next roles were not as successful. He opted out of directing Straight Time but starred as a thief. His next film, Michael Apted's Agatha, was opposite Vanessa Redgrave starring as Agatha Christie.

Hoffman's next starred in Robert Benton's Kramer vs. Kramer as workaholic Ted Kramer whose wife unexpectedly leaves him to raise their son alone. Hoffman starred alongside Meryl Streep in the film, which earned Hoffman his first Academy Award. The film also received the Best Picture honor, as well as Supporting Actress (Streep) and Director.

In Tootsie, Hoffman portrays Michael Dorsey, a struggling actor who finds himself dressing up as a woman to land a role on a soap opera. His co-star was Jessica Lange. Tootsie earned ten Academy Award nominations, including Hoffman's fifth nomination.

Hoffman then turned to television in the role of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, for which he won the 1985 Emmy Award for Outstanding lead actor in a TV movie or miniseries. He would also go on to win a Golden Globe for the same performance.

Hoffman's largest film failure was Elaine May's Ishtar, with Warren Beatty. The film received almost completely negative reviews from critics and was nominated for three Razzie awards. However, Hoffman and Beatty enjoyed working on the film and tried to defend it. James House, who later became a country music artist, served as Hoffman's vocal coach in the film.

In director Barry Levinson's Rain Man, Hoffman starred as an autistic savant, opposite Tom Cruise. Levinson, Hoffman and Cruise worked for two years on the film, and his performance garnered Hoffman his second Academy Award. Upon accepting, Hoffman stated softly to his fellow nominees that it was okay if they didn't vote for him because "I didn't vote for you guys either." After Rain Man, Hoffman appeared with Sean Connery and Matthew Broderick in Family Business. The film did relatively poorly with the critics and at the box office. In 1991, Hoffman voiced substitute teacher Mr. Bergstrom in the The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Substitute", under the pseudonym Sam Etic. As a reference to this episode, on the episode portraying the Itchy & Scratchy movie, Lisa says that Dustin Hoffman has a cameo but doesn't use his real name.

Throughout the 1990s, Hoffman appeared in many large, studio films, such as Dick Tracy (which reunite both him and his Ishtar co-star Beatty, who played the titular character), Hero and the ill-fated Billy Bathgate (which he co-starred with Nicole Kidman who was nominated for a Golden Globe). Hoffman also played the title role of Captain Hook in Steven Spielberg's Hook, earning a Golden Globe nomination; in this movie, Hoffman's costume was so heavy that he had to wear an air-conditioned suit under it. Hoffman played the lead role in Outbreak, alongside Rene Russo, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Donald Sutherland. Following that, he appeared in Sleepers with Brad Pitt, Jason Patric, and Kevin Bacon. He starred opposite John Travolta in the Costa Gavras vehicle Mad City.

It was in the mid-1990s that Hoffman starred in — and was deeply involved in the production of — David Mamet's American Buffalo, one of the very few "pure art projects" he is known for, and an early effort of film editor Kate Sanford. Hoffman gained his seventh Academy Award nomination for his role in Wag The Dog. He next appeared in Barry Levinson's adaptation of Sphere, opposite Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Coyote, Queen Latifah and Liev Schreiber. Hoffman next appeared in Moonlight Mile, followed by Confidence opposite Edward Burns, Andy Garcia and Rachel Weisz. Hoffman would finally have a chance to work with Gene Hackman, in Gary Fleder's Runaway Jury, an adaptation of John Grisham's bestselling novel.

More recently, Hoffman played theater owner Charles Frohman in the J. M. Barrie historical fantasia Finding Neverland, costarring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. In director David O. Russell's I Heart Huckabees, Hoffman appeared opposite Lily Tomlin as an existential detective team.

Hoffman co-starred with Barbra Streisand, Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller in 2004's Meet the Fockers, the sequel to Meet the Parents. Hoffman won the 2005 MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance. He was featured in cameo roles in Andy Garcia's The Lost City and on the final episode of HBO sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm's fifth season. In 2006, Hoffman appeared in Stranger than Fiction, played the perfumer Giuseppe Baldini in Tom Tykwer's film Perfume: The Story of a Murderer and had a cameo in the 2006 film The Holiday.

In 2007, he was featured in an advertising campaign for Australian telecommunications company Telstra's Next G network, appeared in the 50 Cent video "Follow My Lead" as a psychiatrist, and played the title character in the family film Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. In 2008, although he was reluctant to perform in an animated film, Hoffman had a prominent role in the acclaimed film Kung Fu Panda, which was praised in part for his comedic chemistry with Jack Black and his character's complex relationship with the story's villain. He later won the Annie Award for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature for Kung Fu Panda. He next voiced Roscuro in The Tale of Despereauxand played the title character in Last Chance Harvey.

Personal life

Hoffman married Anne Byrne in May 1969. The couple had two children, Karina (b. 1966) and Jenna (b. 15 October 1970). Karina is adopted. The couple divorced in 1980. He married attorney Lisa Gottsegen in October 1980; they have four children — Jacob Edward (b. 20 March 1981), Rebecca (b. 17 March 1983), Maxwell Geoffrey (b. 30 August 1984), and Alexandra Lydia (b. 27 October 1987). Hoffman also has two grandchildren. In an interview, he said that all of his children had bar or bat mitzvahs and that he is a more observant Jew now than when he was younger; he also lamented that he is not fluent in Hebrew.

In 1970, Hoffman and Byrne were living in Greenwich Villagemarker in a building next door to the townhouse destroyed by members of The Weatherman when they detonated a bomb in the building's basement, killing three people. In the 2002 documentary The Weather Underground, Hoffman can be seen standing in the street during the aftermath of the explosion.

A political liberal, Hoffman has long supported the Democratic Party and Ralph Nader. In 1997, he was one of a number of Hollywood stars and executives to sign an open letter to then-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, published as a newspaper advertisement in the International Herald Tribune, which protested the treatment of Scientologists in Germany.

Robert Duvall was a roommate of Hoffman's during their struggling actor years in New York Citymarker. Duvall and Hoffman tease each other on the matter of acting training, as Duvall was trained by Sanford Meisner whereas Hoffman was brought up on Lee Strasberg's method acting . Hoffman is still good friends with actor Gene Hackman, who was also friends with Duvall during their years as starving actors .

Filmography and awards

Year Film Role Notes
1967 The Tiger Makes Out Hap
The Graduate Benjamin Braddock BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy


1968 Madigan's Millions Jason Fister
1969 Sunday Father A 'Sunday Father' short subject
Midnight Cowboy 'Ratso' Rizzo BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role also for John and Mary
David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor


John and Mary John BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role also for Midnight Cowboy
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1970 Little Big Man Jack Crabb Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1971 On Location: Dustin Hoffman Himself short subject
Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He
Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?
Georgie Soloway
Straw Dogs David Sumner
1972 Alfredo, Alfredo Alfredo Sbisà
1973 Papillon Louis Dega
1974 Lenny Lenny Bruce Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama

1976 The Magic of Hollywood... Is the Magic of People Himself short subject
All the President's Men Carl Bernstein Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role also for Marathon Man
Marathon Man Babe Levy Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role also for All the President's Men
David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama

1978 Straight Time Max Dembo also producer
1979 Agatha Wally Stanton National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor also for Kramer vs. Kramer
Kramer vs. Kramer Ted Kramer Academy Award for Best Actor
David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor also for Agatha
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role





1982 Tootsie Michael Dorsey / Dorothy Michaels BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor



1984 Terror in the Aisles archival footage
1985 Death of a Salesman Willy Loman Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special

1986 Private Conversations Himself documentary
1987 Ishtar Chuck Clarke
1988 Rain Man Raymond Babbitt Academy Award for Best Actor
David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role



1989 Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt Narrator documentary
Family Business Vito McMullen
1990 Dick Tracy Mumbles
1991 Billy Bathgate Dutch Schultz
Hook Capt. Hook Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1992 Hero Bernard 'Bernie' Laplante
1992 Horton Hears a Who! Narrator
1993 La Classe américaine Peter in archive footage only
1994 Jonas in the Desert Himself documentary
1995 Outbreak Colonel Sam Daniels
1996 American Buffalo Walt 'Teach' Teacher
Sleepers Danny Snyder
1997 Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award
Mad City Max Brackett
Wag the Dog Stanley Motss Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role


1998 Sphere Dr. Norman Goodman
1999 The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc The Conscience
2001 Tuesday Narrator short subject
Goldwyn Narrator documentary
2002 Moonlight Mile Ben Floss
2003 The Shakespeare Sessions Himself documentary
Confidence Winston King
Runaway Jury Wendell Rohr
2004 Freedom2speak v2.0 Himself - Actor, USA documentary
Finding Neverland Charles Frohman Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
I Heart Huckabees Bernard
Meet the Fockers Bernie Focker MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events The Critic uncredited
2005 Racing Stripes Tucker voice
The Lost City Meyer Lansky
2006 Perfume: The Story of a Murderer Giuseppe Baldini
Stranger than Fiction Professor Jules Hilbert
The Holiday Himself uncredited
2007 Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Mr. Edward Magorium, Avid Shoe-Wearer
2008 Kung Fu Panda Master Shifu voice
Annie Award for Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production
The Tale of Despereaux Roscuro voice
Last Chance Harvey Harvey Shine Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2010 Barney's Version Izzy filming
2011 Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom Master Shifu voice; pre-production
2011 The Giver The Giver pre-production


References

  1. According to the State of California (CA Birth Index). At Family Tree Legends. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  2. Yahoo movies biography.
  3. Film Reference.com biography.
  4. Hoffman's Jewish return. Ynet.com. 19 November 2006.
  5. James House Biography: OLDIES.Com
  6. O'Sullivan, Matt. "Rap for Telstra over ad promise", Sydney Morning Herald, August 27, 2007.
  7. Dustin Hoffman at Tribute.ca. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  8. Bonfante, Jordan; van Voorst, Bruce (1997-02-10). " Does Germany Have Something Against These Guys?", Time


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