A two-time Academy Award winner and seven-time nominee whose arrival in Hollywood helped usher in a new and revitalized approach to filmmaking, Dustin Hoffman continues to add singular performances to a career rich with characters that have obliterated the line previously dividing the archetypes of “character actor” and “leading man.”
Hoffman caught the world’s attention for his role as Benjamin Braddock in Mike Nichol’s Academy Award nominated film, The Graduate (1967). Since then, he has been nominated for six more Academy Awards for diverse films such as Midnight Cowboy (1969), LENNY (1974), Tootsie (1982, a film he also produced through his company, Punch Productions) and Wag the Dog (1997). Hoffman won the Oscar in 1979 for his role in Kramer vs. Kramer and again in 1988 for Rain Man. In 1997, he was awarded the Golden Globe’s esteemed Cecil B. DeMille Award.
Hoffman made his directorial debut with the feature film Quartet (2012), starring Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Michael Gambon and Sheridan Smith. The film was recognized by the National Board of Review for being one of the “Top Ten Independent Films” in 2012. Hoffman was also awarded with the “Breakthrough Director Award” by the Hollywood Film Awards. Additionally, Maggie Smith was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and Billy Connolly was nominated for a British Independent Film Award on behalf of the film. Quartet grossed almost $60 million worldwide. Quartet was based on Ronald Harwood’s stage play of the same name.
Hoffman recently appeared in Jon Favreau’s Chef (2014) and starred in Dearbhla Walsh’s Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot (2015) opposite Judi Dench. The film is based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book of the same name. Hoffman plays the role of ‘Mr. Hoppy’, a retired bachelor who harbors a secret passion for his neighbor, ‘Mrs. Silver’ (Judi Dench), who unfortunately lavishes all of her attention on Alfie, her pet tortoise. Additionally, Hoffman recently wrapped production on the films Icon (2015), Boychoir (2014) and The Cobbler (2014).
In 2010, Hoffman starred opposite Paul Giamatti in Barney’s Version, directed by Richard J. Lewis. The film premiered at the 2010 Venice Film Festival and was released by Sony Pictures Classics. Hoffman also reprised his role as Bernie Focker in Little Fockers starring opposite Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro and Barbra Streisand.
Before that, Hoffman starred in Last Chance Harvey (2008), a love story set in London, written and directed by Joel Hopkins and co-starring Emma Thompson. He received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical category for his role.
Hoffman has also lent his voice to the box office hit, Kung Fu Panda (2008). The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film and Hoffman received the Annie Award for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production. He also voiced the character of Shifu in Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011).
Other film credits include: The Tale of Despereaux (2008), Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (2007), Stranger Than Fiction (2006), Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006), Meet the Fockers (2004), Finding Neverland (2004), I Heart Huckabees (2004), The Lost City (2005), Racing Stripes (2005), Runaway Jury (2003), Little Big Man (1970), Straw Dogs (1971), Papillon (1973), All the President’s Men (1976), Marathon Man (1976), Straight Time (1978), Agatha (1979), Ishtar (1987), Dick Tracy (1990), Billy Bathgate (1991), Mad City (1997), Hero (1992), Sleepers (1996), Sphere (1998), American Buffalo (1996), Hook (1991) and Outbreak (1995).
On television, Hoffman starred in Michael Mann’s and David Milch’s acclaimed horseracing drama, Luck, for HBO.
On stage, Hoffman has had an equally impressive career. His first stage role was in the Sarah Lawrence College production of Gertrude Stein’s Yes Is for a Very Young Man. This performance led to several roles Off Broadway, such as Journey of the Fifth Horse, for which he won the Obie, and Eh?, for which he won the Drama Desk Award for Best Actor. His success on stage caught the attention of Mike Nichols, who cast him in The Graduate. In 1969, Hoffman made his Broadway debut in Murray Schisgal’s Jimmy Shine. In 1974, Hoffman made his Broadway directorial debut with Schisgal’s All Over Town. In 1984, Hoffman garnered a Drama Desk Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Willy Loman in the Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman which he also produced. In addition to starring in the Broadway production, a special presentation aired on television and Hoffman won the Emmy Award. Additionally, Hoffman received a Tony Award Nomination for his role as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, which he reprised from his long run on the London Stage.
As a producer, Hoffman produced Tony Goldwyn’s feature film A Walk on the Moon (1999) starring Diane Lane, Viggo Mortensen, Liev Schreiber and Anna Paquin. He executive produced The Devil’s Arithmetic (1999), which won two Emmy Awards.
Hoffman was born in Los Angeles and attended Santa Monica Community College. He later studied at the Pasadena Playhouse before moving to New York to study with Lee Strasberg.
Hoffman serves as the chair of the Artistic Advisory Board along with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Plácido Domingo for the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage Theater, which opened on September 20, 2008. This intimate 499-seat state-of-the-art theater provides a much-needed performance facility for Santa Monica College and the surrounding community.
Hoffman was honored at the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors. Hoffman was also awarded the Honorary César Medal at the 2009 César Awards.