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Profile of actor Dustin Hoffman

Updated on March 7, 2015

Dustin Hoffman was born 8 th August 1938, Los Angeles, America, his father worked on film sets for Columbian Pictures as a film prop and his mother a jazz pianist. At school, Hoffman had tendency to fool around which would often lead into trouble with teachers. His unruly streak ended up getting him expelled from school. While he was growing up his main interest was playing the piano, he would often dream of becoming a jazz pianist. Following his dream of becoming a jazz pianist he decided to take his studies seriously when was accepted at University. Before graduating, Hoffman looked for another subject he could include in his University credits. Taking his friends advice he choose to act as a second subject to boost his overall grades. Hoffman would practice for hours on end, refining his performance for examiners. Realizing that his true talents lay in acting not music, he became an actor instead of a jazz musician.


When he graduated 1958 Hoffman moved to New York and started going to auditions, he stayed with a friend whom he met at university Gene Hackman. Sleeping on his kitchen floor it wasn’t long before Hackman and his wife asked Hoffman to find somewhere else. Hoffman Moved in with one of Hackman’s friends another actor named Robert Duvall. . After years of failing to succeed at auditions, while working in a number of odd jobs mainly consisting of writing phone books in a mental institution.

Desperate to get noticed, he applied to the New York Famous Actors Studio, after a numerous attempts spanning several months Hoffman was finally accepted. Learning method acting from legendary actor Lee Strasberg, he was able to properly rehearse and refine his own acting performance. Working for the Boston theater company he performed on stage in 1965 Harry, Noon and Night, building on this he was assistant director in A View From A Bridge. The next year in 1965, he starred in a television war drama called Journey of the Fifth Horse. A few years later in Hoffman auditioned and was offered a part in the film The Graduate, playing a young who is seduced by a much older woman. It was his first major feature film role for which he would become universally known for. The success of the film proved had now brought Hoffman into the limelight as a talented actor. His next film role would feature him alongside John Voight in Midnight Cowboy, Voight playing a young man moving from Texas to New York who meets streetwise conman Hoffman both ending up friends. In the 1970’s Hoffman landed a role in Little Big Man, as Jack Crabb an elderly man who after a long bloodied battle at Little Horn becomes the only survivor.

March 6 1970, a left-wing terrorist group known as Leftist detonated a bomb next door to Hoffman’s flat in New York killing three people. Hoffman who was out at the time was distraught at the destruction the bomb had made.

In 1971 film Straw Dogs, Hoffman was chosen by director Sam Peckinpah to play an American mathematician in the eighteen hundred's who comes into conflict with British hooligans. The film received superb reviews for Hoffman performance, even if it was one of his most violent. In 1972, he starred in Alfredo, Alfredo! A foreign film starring Steve Mcqueen and Hoffman in which two convicts try to escape from prison. His next film was Marathon Man which saw him play a University student who becomes involved in a conspiracy plot. All the Presidents Men saw Hoffman land a role as hardened investigative journalist, along with Robert Redford based on the Watergate scandal. In 1979 Hoffman, won his first Academy Award for his performance in the film Kramer vs. Kramer. The story shows two divorcees who struggle for customary of their son. Ironically Hoffman was going through a divorce at the time was reluctant to take on the role. Tootsie, 1980 film which saw Hoffman plays a transvestite who attempts to land a role in a Broadway musical. Hoffman received a best actor award at the Oscar nominations that year for his performance in the comedy film. Ishtar was Hoffman’s next film which he starred along with Warren Beaty as two struggling songwriters who end up being involved in a plot to overthrow a government. The film script was appalling and almost ended Hoffman’s film acting career. At the low point in his career, it would several years before Hoffman would again another film role. In 1988, the film Rainman starring Tom Cruise with Hoffman playing an autistic individual. Before the film, Hoffman spent time with autistic people in order to gain a better underrating of the role. Rebounding from Ishtar, Hoffman was highly praised for his performance by audiences and critics.

The early 1990’s Hoffman had always wanted act in children’s film, his chance finally came when he landed in part in the Film Hook. Playing Captain Hook, the film was a flop at the cinemas although it had a cult fan base.A long stint and Hoffman landed another comedy role in 2004 film Meet the Fockers which was a sequel to a Meet The Parents. Playing an oddball who meets his daughter in law parents for the first time since his son got married.

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