From The Graduate in 1967 to Rain Man in 1988 to Kung Fu Panda 2 in 2011, Dustin was Ratso, Tootsie, Stanley Motss, Captain Hook, Lenny Bruce. One of the world’s most versatile actors to ever grace our screens, whether they were the silver screens or our smaller ones. We just wanted to say “Thank You, Dustin, for the endless years of entertainment.”
Dustin Lee Hoffman (born August 8, 1937) is an American actor with a career in film, television, and theatre since 1960. He has been known for his versatile portrayals of antiheroes and vulnerable characters.
He first drew critical praise for the play Eh?, for which he won a Theatre World Award and a Drama Desk Award. This was soon followed by his breakthrough movie role as the good-looking but troubled Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate (1967). Since then Hoffman’s career has largely been focused on cinema, with only sporadic returns to television and the stage. Some of his most notable films are Papillon, Marathon Man, Midnight Cowboy, Little Big Man, Lenny, All the President’s Men, Kramer vs. Kramer, Tootsie, Rain Man, and Wag the Dog.
Hoffman has won two Academy Awards (for his performances in Kramer vs. Kramer and Rain Man), five Golden Globes, four BAFTAs, three Drama Desk Awards, a Genie Award, and an Emmy Award. Dustin Hoffman received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1999.
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.
In 1967, immediately after wrapping up principal filming on The Tiger Makes Out, Hoffman flew from New York City to Fargo, North Dakota, 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.
n 1966, Mike Nichols cast Hoffman in The Graduate, a role which prevented him from appearing in the acclaimed Mel Brooks film, The Producers, as Franz Liebkind. The film began production in March 1967. Hoffman received an Academy Award nomination for his performance and became a major star.
Hoffman’s next major film, Midnight Cowboy, premiered in theatres across the United States on May 25, 1969. For his role as Ratso Rizzo in the film, Hoffman received his second Oscar nomination and the film won the Best Picture honor.
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 (1976). Hoffman next starred in Marathon Man (also 1976), a film based on William Goldman‘s novel of the same name, opposite Laurence Olivier and Roy Scheider.
Hoffman next starred in Robert Benton‘s Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) as workaholic Ted Kramer whose wife (Meryl Streep) unexpectedly leaves him; he raises their son alone. Hoffman gained his first Academy Award, and the film also received the Best Picture honor, plus the awards for Best Supporting Actress (Streep) and Director.
In Tootsie (1982), 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.
In director Barry Levinson’s Rain Man (1988), Hoffman starred as an autistic savant, opposite Tom Cruise. Levinson, Hoffman and Cruise worked for two years on the film, and Hoffman’s performance gained him 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.”
Throughout the 1990s, Hoffman appeared in many large, studio films, such as Dick Tracy (1990) (where his Ishtar co-star Beatty plays the titular character), Hero (1992) and Billy Bathgate (1991) co-starring with Nicole Kidman who was nominated for a Golden Globe). Hoffman also played the title role of Captain Hook in Steven Spielberg‘s Hook (also 1991), 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 (1995), alongside Rene Russo, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Donald Sutherland. Following that, he appeared in the 1996 revenge-drama/legal-thriller Sleepers (1996) with Brad Pitt, Jason Patric, and Kevin Bacon.
In 1997, Hoffman starred opposite John Travolta in the Costa Gavras film Mad City and gained his seventh Academy Award nomination for his performance in Wag The Dog, in a role that allowed Hoffman the chance to work with both Robert De Niro and Denis Leary. He next appeared in Barry Levinson’s adaptation of Sphere (1998), opposite Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Coyote, Queen Latifah and Liev Schreiber.
Seven years after his nomination for Wag the Dog, Hoffman got a second opportunity to perform again with Robert De Niro, co-starring with Barbra Streisand and Ben Stiller in the 2004 comedy Meet the Fockers, a sequel to Meet the Parents (2000). Hoffman won the 2005 MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance.
He appeared in Little Fockers, the critically panned yet hugely commercially successful 2010 sequel to Meet the Fockers. In 2011, Hoffman reprised his role as Shifu in the commercially and critically successful animated film Kung Fu Panda 2.
Hoffman starred in the HBO horse-racing drama Luck, as a man involved in activities such as bookmaking and casino operations. Luck was cancelled in March 2012 after three horses died on set. Hoffman will also direct Quartet, a BBC Films comedy starring Maggie Smith and Tom Courtenay.
SEE DUSTIN’s ENTIRE FILMOGRAPHY HERE.