Dustin Lee Hoffman (born August 8, 1937) is one of the dominant American film actors of the late twentieth century.
Hoffman was born in Los Angeles, California and graduated from Los Angeles High School where he was voted "least likely to succeed." His first ambition was to be a concert pianist and he attended the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. Then, with an interest in medicine, he attended Santa Monica City College for a year before dropping out due to poor grades. In an effort to bolster his grades during that year, he took an acting class because he was told "nobody flunks acting." He performed at the Pasadena Playhouse for two years with fellow actor Gene Hackman. The two were also roommates for a while.
Hoffman relocated to New York City where he worked a series of odd jobs including an occasional small television role. To support himself, he left acting briefly to teach. In 1960, Hoffman landed a role in an off Broadway production and followed with a walk on role in a Broadway production in 1961. He dropped out of acting again, studied with Lee Strasberg and became a dedicated method actor. Hoffman made his film debut in The Tiger Makes Out (1967).
He came to prominence with The Graduate (1967), playing a disaffected college graduate, though he was nearly thirty. Hoffman received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in The Graduate. He also received an Oscar nomination for his work in Midnight Cowboy (1969).
Hoffman has a reputation within the film business as a perfectionist, at times causing him difficulty with directors and at other times earning him Academy Awards, in films such as Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Rain Man (1988).
Hoffman returned to Broadway in 1983, in the role of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. Hoffman has his own production company, Punch Productions, which has produced several of the films in which he starred such as Tootsie (1982), Hero (1992), and Wag the Dog (1997).
Hoffman has two children (Karin and Jenna) with his first wife Anne Byrne (married May 1969; divorced in 1980), and four others (Jacob, Max, Rebecca and Alexandra) with wife Lisa Gottsegen (married October 1980).
Last updated: 08-17-2005 14:05:10