Dustin Lee Hoffman is an actor and director, famous for his work in the American cinema, television, and theatre in the last five decades. Here are 50 interesting facts about the actor:
(Photo : ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) Actor Dustin Hoffman arrives for the BAFTA Los Angeles Jaguar Britannia Awards, October 30, 2014 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. .
Dustin Hoffman won two Academy Awards for Best Actor in 1979 and 1988, for his performance in the movie “Kramer Vs Kramer,” and “Rain Man” respectively.
He also entered in the Guinness Book of World Records as “Greatest Age Span Portrayed By A Movie Actor.” He played a character from the age of 17 to the age of 121 in the movie “Little Big Man,” in 1970.
He was a roommate and good friend with Gene Hackman since 1960. However they both got to act together only in 2003 in the movie “Runaway Jury.”
He first met actor Hackman during first month at Pasadena Playhouse. Hackman left after 3 months to try his hand at stage acting.
When he shared one bedroom apartment with Hackman in New York, he slept on the kitchen floor. Hackman had to look for Hoffman’s own apartment out of frustration, when Hoffman refused to leave.
(Photo : Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images) American actor Dustin Hoffman, as Benjamin Braddock, in 'The Graduate', directed by Mike Nichols, 1967.
He and Robert Duvall, who both shared rooms together once said, that girls were the main reason they went for acting classes. It was like a goldmine for them at that time.
He had expressed desire to play the lead role in “Gandhi,” but was offered “Tootsie,” the same year. He lost the Oscar to Ben Kingsley who eventually played Gandhi.
He worked in a toy’s department at Macy’s during his days as a struggling actor. One day he placed Hackman’s toddler son on display and tried to sell him off as a large doll until someone offered to buy him.
He along with his good friend and former roommate Hackman got the big breakthrough in 1967. Hoffman was offered “The Graduate,” and Hackman was offered “Bonnie and Clyde.”
He was born as Dustin Lee Hoffman on August 8, 1937, in Los Angeles to Lillian Gold and Harry Hoffman.
(Photo : Tibrina Hobson/WireImage) Dustin Hoffman attends the screening and reception for sundance selects' '45 Years' at iPic Westwood on November 13, 2015 in Westwood, California.
His father Harry Hoffman was a set decorator at Columbia Pictures before becoming a furniture salesman.
He has an older brother named Ronald, who is a lawyer and economist. Hoffman himself was named after silent screen actor Dustin Farnum.
In 1955, he graduated from Los Angeles High School and joined Santa Monica College to study medicine. After a year, he left to pursue his acting career.
When he first expressed his desire to be an actor to his family, his aunt had warned him against it stating he is not so good looking at all.
He also hoped to become a pianist, having studied piano from childhood through college, until the acting bug caught him. Later, he recalled “I just was not gifted in music. I did not have an ear.”
He got his first acting role at Pasadena Playhouse alongside Hackman.
Hackman recalled those days with Hoffman and Duvall in New York during 1960’s and said “The idea that any of us would do well in films simply didn’t occur to us. We just wanted to work.”
He studied at Actors Studio to become a method actor. He was spotted by Sidney W. Pink in an off-Broadway production and cast him in “Madigan’s Millions.”
He made his movie debut in 1967 in “The Tiger Makes Out.” He was paid $200 for a day’s work on this movie.
During the casting interview for “The Graduate” he was mistook by Joseph E. Levin for a window cleaner. Hoffman did clean a window to show his acting skill.
(Photo : Embassy Pictures/Getty Images) Anne Bancroft pulling on stocking in front of Dustin Hoffman in a scene from the film 'The Graduate', 1967.
Hoffman and Anne Bancroft’s first encounter in a hotel room in the movie “The Graduate,” has him grabbing her breast. This was not on the script. He thought it off screen and the director felt the after effects of it to be funny and left it in.
Life magazine joked that “If Dustin Hoffman’s face were his fortune, he’d be committed to a life of poverty. However, his movie “The Graduate,” was a box office hit, making him a major new star.”
Hoffman credits the director Mike Nichols for taking a risk in casting him in a leading role. “I don’t know of another instance of a director at the height of his powers who would take a chance and cast someone like me in that past. It took tremendous courage.”
He accepted the offer to lead in “Midnight Cowboy” in 1969 to prove everyone that he is a character actor who can play all kind of characters. He recalled “I had become troubled by the reviews that I read of ‘The Graduate,’ that I was not a character actor, which I like to think of myself as. It hurt me. Some of the stuff in the press was brutal.”
To impress the director John Schlesinger, he met him in Time Square dressed as a homeless person with a dirty raincoat and slicked back hair and unshaven face. The director responded as “I have only seen you in the context of ‘The Graduate,’ but you will do quite well.”
He was married to Anne Byrne from May 1969 to 1980. He adopted Byrne’s daughter Karina, from previous marriage. He also had a daughter Jenna with Byrne in 1970.
In the year 1970, his house in Greenwich Village was damaged during an explosion in the basement of the neighboring house. The members of “The Weathermen” group were staying as his neighbor when their bomb went off.
He won his second nomination for Best Actor at Oscars for his performance in “Midnight Cowboy,” and the movie won Best Picture Award.
He was nominated for Best Actor at Golden Globe for his performance in “John and Mary,” in 1969. He won a BAFTA Award for the same movie in 1970.
He was again nominated for Best Actor at Oscars for the movie “Lenny,” in 1974 where he portrayed the life of stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce. The movie received 5 more nominations at Oscars, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Picture.
He initially turned down the role of Lenny before watching his stand-up comedies and reading his biography. “I didn’t think the script was strong enough and I wasn’t sure I was the one to play the role. Later, I began to feel an affinity with him, a realization that there was a lot of Lenny Bruce in me. My wife felt it too.”
He married Lisa Gottsegen, a business woman in 1980. They have four children: Jacob Edward, Rebecca Lillian, Maxwell Geoffrey, and Alexandra Lydia.
For various scenes in the movie “Marathon Man,” he would not fake being out of breath according to producer Robert Evans. “Just for a take, he would run for a half-mile so he came into the scene, he'd actually be out of breath."
He lost 15 pounds for the character Babe Levy in the movie “Marathon Man.” He played as a graduate student who was a part-time long distance runner. However, he was originally 28 years old at the time of shooting.
(Photo : Tom Wargacki/WireImage) Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streepattend a photocall for film 'Kramer vs Kramer' on March 11, 2007 in London, Great Britain.
During a restaurant scene in the movie “Kramer Vs Kramer,” he threw a glass of wine at the wall, just informing only the cameraman in advance. After the scene, Meryl Streep yells at him for scaring her so badly.
Hoffman attributes the outcome of their performance in the movie “Kramer Vs Kramer” to what was happening in the lives of lead actors. Hoffman was going through a messy divorce while Streep was recovering from the death of her lover.
To play the role of Dorothy convincingly in the movie “Tootsie,” Hoffman disguised as Aunt Dorothy in his daughter’s parents evening at school. He convinced all the teachers and no on suspected him.
The crew of the movie “Tootsie,” would give bad news to Hoffman only when he was dressed as a woman, because he was much nicer at those times.
Meryl Streep who had acted alongside Hoffman in “Kramer Vs Kramer,” helped him in getting the voice right for the character Dorothy in “Tootsie.”
A transvestite Holly Woodlawn was hired by producers of “Tootsie,” to coach Hoffman on being a man acting as a woman.
(Photo : Columbia Pictures/Getty Images) Dustin Hoffman in publicity portrait for the film 'Tootsie', 1982.
In the movie “Rain Man,” and elderly man in the waiting room keeps talking about the Pony Express was not planned before or in the script. When the film crew arrived there to shoot, the director liked the conversation the local man was having and let the camera role, which made the movie.
During a casino scene shooting in the movie “Rain Man,” a person was assigned to watch over Hoffman because he would go off and play games as a black jack.
Hoffman won Academy Award for Best Actor for “Rain Man.” He was supposed to play the role of Charlie but upon his insistence the role of Raymond was given to him.
During a scene in “Finding Neverland,” in 2004, he lost the tip of a finger and had to perform the whole day on morphine.
He is a fan of Archie Comic and owns every single issue ever printed.
Sean Connery played father to Hoffman in “Family Business,” in the year 1989. Hoffman was only 7 years younger to him at that time.
(Photo : Jason Merritt/Getty Images) Actor Dustin Hoffman and wife Lisa Hoffman arrive at the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California.
He was treated for Skin Cancer in 2013.
For the movie “Batman Returns,” in 1992, he was the first choice for the role of Penguin, but Warner Brothers changed their mind.
Two of his movie “Rain Man” and “All The President’s Men,” are among the 100 Most Inspiring Movies list prepared by American Film Institute.
His character in “Tootsie” as Michael Dorsey is listed at #33 and Raymond Babbitt in “Rain Man,” at #88 on the Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.