Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Greenwich Village apartment with a needle still in his arm and surrounded by bags of heroin on Sunday February 2; the second actor to die from this drug, Cory Monteith died last year on July 13 both men are connected through a singular problem; addiction. There was 15 years between them, Monteith was 31 years-old when he died and Hoffman 46. One was on his way up and Hoffman was well established as a masterful actor on stage and screen. The common theme that both shared was their addictive craving for drugs and their solitary deaths.
Monteith was a popular young Canadian actor who garnered fame on the Fox network show Glee. He was incredibly open about his substance misuse and attended rehab on more than one occasion. The last being in April 2013 just a few months before he died. The star of the popular teen show apparently overestimated his body’s tolerance for the drug and as a result he died from a deadly mixture of heroin and alcohol in a Vancouver hotel room.
Hoffman had “scared” himself straight when he was 22 years-old. He mentioned this fact while talking about his weakness for substance misuse and that he had been “sober” for 23 years. Last year the Oscar winning actor fell off the wagon and checked himself into rehab for drug abuse issues that included snorting heroin. On the Sunday when the God’s Pocket star was meant to be visiting with his three children, he died.
It appears to be a common thread among those who have deviated from their sobriety plan to die in this horrible fashion. There are those who question the validity of the grief felt for Hoffman, and possibly Monteith as well; with questions being asked about what makes them so special or even tragic. Certainly the amount of deaths that can be attributed to drug abuse is staggering and not limited to the Hollywood glitterati.
At least one other member of Hollywood went onto Twitter to state that he felt Hoffman’s death was not tragic, but, “stupid.” The celebrity in question is Jared Padalecki from The CW show Supernatural. His tweet caused major eruptions on Twitter with at least one other celeb telling him to remove his tweet before Hoffman’s family saw it – that was American Idol‘s Demi Lovato – and it seems that Jared did take the offending tweet down.
The biggest problem with Padalecki’s tweet was his insistence that the news was not tragic. This is where the Supernatural star slipped up. It is always tragic when someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, et al, dies from a drug overdose. Poignancy is not relegated to the famous and talented, it reaches across boundaries; talented and untalented alike.
It was, perhaps, that little bit more devastating to Cory Monteith’s colleagues although Hoffman’s peers were, and still are, stunned at the news. On a television show, the hours spent working on a weekly series enables a sort of bond between actors that is a bit more lasting than those of actors who work in films. Cory’s peers were mostly in his age group, where the idea of mortality, does not figure heavily in the minds of the under 40 crowd. In the family oriented show of Glee all the cast were very close, especially Lea Michele who was Monteith’s real-life girlfriend and his on screen character’s.
Hoffman was an established master in his profession. The actor cut his teeth on the stage and he brought to all of his characters a breadth of realism that few reach in their performances, though many try. His forays into the world of film were all nothing short of mesmerizing. That he so successfully fought off his inner demons only to fall spectacularly and fatally off the “wagon” is as puzzling as it is tragic.
It has been reported that the day before he was found dead in his apartment, Hoffman was seen in the company of two men gathering cash. It was, apparently, these two who provided the reported 70 baggies of heroin found in the actor’s apartment. While waiting for the autopsy and the necessary blood toxicology reports to come in, police are surmising that the actor was not killed by heroin laced with fentanyl, but by an overdose.
Regardless of just what it was that killed Philip Seymour Hoffman, his connection with a man 15 years his junior, Cory Monteith, is one of addiction. It was through losing to his own personal demons that Hoffman suffered his untimely death and just like the younger Canadian actor, he faced his death alone.
By Michael Smith