Did “Death” Bring About Hoffman’s Death?

One of the reasons I so admire theatre actors is that I can’t imagine putting myself physically and emotionally what they go through eight times a week: it’s a type of stamina that I find quite literally awe-inspiring. It’s easy to say that the great ones are a different breed (and, in some ways, they are) and that they are able to leave a given night’s performance at the stage door. But, according to a new Rolling Stone story about Philip Seymour Hoffman, his stint doing Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman” on Broadway in 2012 was overwhelming. Hoffman’s friend, David Bar Katz, says, “That play tortured him.” And close friends say Hoffman wasn’t the same after he threw himself into playing the tragic character — breaking into tears nightly. “He was miserable throughout that entire run. No matter what he was doing, he knew that a 8:00 that night he’d do that to himself again,” Katz says. “If you keep doing that on a continual basis, it rewires your brain, and he was doing that to himself every night.” What’s more, Hoffman started drinking during “Salesman.” Not long after, he was in rehab. Not long after, he was dead. Addiction doesn’t have a rational, progressive logic, but those are some of the facts.

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