Graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1955. Went to Santa Monica City College where he dropped out after a year due to bad grades. But before he did, he took an acting course because he was told that "nobody flunks acting." Also received some training at Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. Decided to go into acting because he did not want to work or go into the service. Trained at The Pasadena Playhouse for two years.
Was considered for the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972).
Awarded $3 Million in damages and compensation in a case against a Los Angeles magazine that printed a computer generated image of Hoffman in a dress. (cf. Tootsie (1982)) [January 1999]
During the filming of Wag the Dog (1997) Hoffman, his co-star Robert De Niro and director Barry Levinson had an impromptu meeting with President Bill Clinton at a Washington hotel. "So what's this movie about?" Clinton asked De Niro. De Niro looked over to Levinson, hoping he would answer the question. Levinson, in turn, looked over to Hoffman. Hoffman, realizing there was no one else to pass the buck to, is quoted as saying, "So I just started to tap dance. I can't even remember what I said."
Ranked #41 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Father of Jake Hoffman.
Father of Rebecca Hoffman.
Father of Maxwell Hoffman.
Father of Jenna Byrne
His parents named him Dustin after actor Dustin Farnum
Slept over at Gene Hackman and his wife's apartment in Manhattan when he was a struggling actor.
In July 2001, a federal appeals court overturned the verdict that awarded Hoffman $3 million in damages for being depicted in a digitally-altered photograph in Los Angeles Magazine. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that because the photo appeared in an article, not an advertisement, the use of the actor's likeness did not constitute "commercial speech" and was entitled to the full protection of the 1st Amendment.
Brother-in-law of producer Lee Gottsegen
Was in early consideration for the role of Rick Deckard in Blade Runner (1982). The role eventually went to Harrison Ford.
Has known Gene Hackman since 1956.
Has a house in the Kensington area of London.
On March 6, 1970, he and his wife Anne were living in a brownstone on 11th St. in NYC's Greenwich Village when the house next door blew up. Luckily, he and his family weren't home. Members of the radical 60s domestic terror group, Weathermen, were living in that house unbeknownst to anyone and had stored a large cache of explosives that accidentally detonated, killing 3 of the group's members. Henry Fonda's ex wife, Susan Wager, was also a neighbor in that block who witnessed the explosion.
He was a neighbor of Mel Brooks in New York and was set to play the role of Leo Bloom in Brooks's first film, The Producers (1968). Just before production was to commence, Hoffman was offered the role of Ben Braddock in The Graduate (1967), co-starring Brooks' wife Anne Bancroft and asked to be let out of his contract. The role of Bloom eventually went to Gene Wilder.
Met actor Gene Hackman in the first month at Pasadena Playhouse. Had several classes with him. Hackman failed out after 3 months and moved to New York to continue being a stage actor.
After The Pasadena Playhouse, Hoffman decided to move to New York and looked up Gene Hackman. The two of them roomed together in New York at Hackman's one bedroom apartment on 2nd ½ and 26th Street. Hoffman slept on the kitchen floor. Originally, Hackman had offered to let him stay a few nights, but Hoffman would not leave. Hackman had to take him out to look for his own apartment.
Another thespian he roomed with in New York was Robert Duvall.
As roommates, Hoffman and Gene Hackman would often go to the apartment rooftop and play the drums. Hoffman played the bongo drums while Hackman played the conga drums. They did it out of their love for Marlon Brando, who they had heard played music in clubs. They wanted to be like Brando and were big fans of his.
Entered into The Guinness Book of World Records as "Greatest Age Span Portrayed By A Movie Actor" for Little Big Man (1970) in which he portrayed a character from age 17 to age 121.
Despite being old friends and roommates with both Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall back in the '60's, it was literally decades before he appeared on screen with either. He finally starred with Hackman in Runaway Jury (2003), and with Duvall in The Lost City (2005).
He was voted the 28th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
Was interested in playing Shylock in Michael Radford's adaptation of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (2004). However, by the time he contacted Radford, Al Pacino had already been cast for the role.
While filming Finding Neverland (2004) lost the tip of a finger and performed one day of shooting on morphine.
In 1984 he played the part of Willie Loman in a revival of "Death of a Salesman" on Broadway. The production won a Tony for Best Reproduction. However, his performance was looked down upon by critics and was snubbed by the Tony committee, even though he won a Drama Desk award. In 1985 he reprised this role for TV and got his revenge on the theater world by winning an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for his performance.
In 1990, he played Shylock in a revival of Shakespeare's "The Merchant Of Venice" on Broadway for which he received a Tony nomination as Best Actor (Play).
Has appeared in two films about Peter Pan (Hook (1991) and Finding Neverland (2004)). Following his appearance in "Hook", his close friend and former roommate Gene Hackman began calling him "Hook" in a jocular manner. The name stuck and his contemporaries call him by his nickname to this day.
Both he and Robert Duvall said one of the best reasons why they went to acting classes were the girls. When they were young, the classes were a gold mine to them.
Recipient of a Lincoln Center tribute in April 2005.
Had expressed an early desire to play the title role in Gandhi (1982), but was offered Tootsie (1982) the same year and ended up taking the latter role. He eventually lost the Oscar that year to Ben Kingsley who played Gandhi.
In 1993, he (together with Anne Bancroft) accepted the Oscar for "Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium" on behalf of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who wasn't present at the awards ceremony
He was so boyish looking at age 30 that he played a generation younger than Anne Bancroft in The Graduate (1967), even though she is only six years older than him.
He is from a family of Polish Jews.
Was considered for the role of Beau Burruoghs in Rumor Has It... (2005), but the part eventually went to Kevin Costner.
Oscar-winning director John Schlesinger envisioned a cast of Al Pacino, Julie Christie and Laurence Olivier for "Marathon Man" (1976). Pacino has said that the only actress he had ever wanted to work with was Christie, who he claimed was "the most poetic of actresses." Producer Robert Evans, who disparaged the vertically challenged Pacino as "The Midget" when Francis Ford Coppola wanted him for The Godfather (1972) and had thought of firing him during the early shooting of the now-classic film, vetoed Pacino for the lead. Instead, Evans insisted on the casting of the even-shorter Dustin Hoffman! On her part, Christie -- who was notoriously finicky about accepting parts, even in prestigious, sure-fire material -- turned down the female lead, which was then taken by Marthe Keller (who, ironically, became Pacino's lover after co-starring with him in Bobby Deerfield (1977)). Of his dream cast, Schlesinger only got Olivier, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
His performance as "Ratso" Rizzo in "Midnight Cowboy" (1969) is ranked #7 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
His performance as Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels in "Tootsie" (1982) is ranked #33 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
His performance as Raymond Babbitt in "Rain Man" (1988) is ranked #88 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
His performance as Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels in "Tootsie" (1982) is ranked #39 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
His performance as "Ratso" Rizzo in "Midnight Cowboy" (1969) is ranked #33 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Two of his films are on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time. They are "Rain Man" (1988) at #63 and "All the President's Men" (1976) at #34.