Dying eight times a week as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman on Broadway took its toll on Philip Seymour Hoffman, according to Rolling Stone. In David Browne’s obit of the late, great actor, friends said Hoffman was never the same after his acclaimed run in the classic Arthur Miller play in 2012.
“That play tortured him,” David Katz, the Broadway director and playwright (John Leguizamo’s Freak) who found Hoffman dead in his West Village apartment, told the magazine. “He was miserable through that entire run. No matter what he was doing, he knew that at 8:00 that night he’d do that to himself again.” Katz added that Hoffman confided to him that he didn’t want to act in theater again after the three-month run “for a while.”
Ethan Hawke, who starred with Hoffman in the movie Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead said he never saw Hoffman drink until A Death of a Salesman. According to the article, Hoffman told a friend that after 23 years sober, he felt he could risk drinking “in moderation.”
Three-time Tony nominee Hoffman was found dead of a heroin overdose on February 2014. A longtime supporter of the theater scene, his will stated that he preferred that his son Cooper live in Manhattan, Chicago or San Francisco, so that he "will be exposed to the culture, arts and architecture that such cities offer.”