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  • Writer's pictureAlex Matthews

The Academy Mourns the Loss of Alumnus Basil Hoffman

The Outsider

Losing Academy alumni is always challenging for our community, especially when they have made as strong of an impact as Basil Hoffman has (Class of 1962). Mr. Hoffman had over 200 credits as an actor on the stage, in film, and on television before he passed away at 83 years old. Some of his roles include Sloan in “Ordinary People” and as an auctioneer in “The Artist,” which both won "Best Picture" at the Oscars. Hoffman also had roles in “My Favorite Year,” “The Last Word,” “All the President’s Men,” and “Rio, I Love You.” Some of his television credits include recurring roles on “Hill Street Blues,” “Seinfeld,” and “Square Pegs.”

Hoffman in "Seinfeld"

Mr. Hoffman was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and later graduated from Tulane University with a degree in economics. He eventually moved to New York City to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. He trained at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and truly discovered his hidden talents in acting. Later in life, he served as an Advisory Director of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts while often returning to give lectures and guide students on their journeys as actors.

Throughout his decades-long career, Mr. Hoffman worked with 14 Academy Award-winning actors including Liza Minnelli, Dustin Hoffman, and Christopher Walken. He was also directed by Oscar-winning filmmakers Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg.

Mr. Hoffman wrote three books “Cold Reading and How to Be Good at It,” “Acting and How to Be Good at It” and “Acting and How to Be Good at It: The Second Edition.” When he wasn’t acting, teaching, or writing, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of The Screen Actors Guild, the Fine Arts Advisory Council of Loyola Marymount University, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

We were grateful to get to talk with his long-time friend and manager, Brad Lemack. He was happy to share his thoughts on Mr. Hoffman's career.

"Having known Basil as a friend and having represented him as his manager for the last 40 years, I have never known an actor so committed to both the process of acting and the business of acting. He was also a student actor's best friend and attended many acting showcases of new talent… and long after the performances ended, he always lingered to talk with new-to-the-business artists about their professional acting career pursuits. Classy guy. Classic talent. Untouchable legacy. Well-earned, respected career."

Mr. Hoffman will be missed but we can safely say his legacy will be preserved through his incredible accomplishments, along with the continuing work from all of the fellow artists he supported and impacted.


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