A two-time Academy Award® winner and seven-time nominee whose arrival in Hollywood helped usher in a new and revitalized approach to filmmaking, DUSTIN HOFFMAN (Shifu) continues to add singular performances to a career rich with characters that have obliterated the line previously dividing the archetypes of “character actor” and “leading man.”
Hoffman caught the world’s attention for his role as Benjamin Braddock in Mike Nichols’ Academy Award®-nominated film “The Graduate.” Since then, he has been nominated for six more Academy Awards® for diverse films such as “Midnight Cowboy,” “Lenny,” “Tootsie” (a film he also produced through his company, Punch Productions) and “Wag the Dog.” Hoffman won the Oscar® in 1979 for his role in “Kramer vs. Kramer” and again in 1988 for “Rain Man.”
Hoffman will next be seen in “Last Chance Harvey,” a love story set in London, written and directed by Joel Hopkins and co-starring Emma Thompson. “Last Chance Harvey” will be released by Overture Films in the fall of 2008. Hoffman will also be starring “The Tale of Despereaux” for Universal; adapted by Gary Ross from the children’s book by Kate DiCamillo, it co-stars Justin Long, Sigourney Weaver, Tracey Ullman, Robbie Coltrane and Kevin Kline. “The Tale of Despereaux” will be released on December 19, 2008.
His other film credits include: “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,” “Stranger Than Fiction,” “Perfume,” “Finding Neverland,” “I Heart Huckabees,” “The Lost City,” “Racing Stripes,” “Runaway Jury,” “Little Big Man,” “Straw Dogs,” ”Papillon,” “All the President’s Men,” “Marathon Man,” “Straight Time,” “Agatha,” “Ishtar,” “Dick Tracy,” “Billy Bathgate,” “Mad City,” “Hero,” ”Sleepers,” “Sphere,” “American Buffalo,” “Hook” and “Outbreak.”
On stage, Hoffman has had an equally impressive career. His first stage role was in the Sarah Lawrence College production of Gertrude Stein’s “Yes Is for a Very Young Man.” This performance led to several roles off-Broadway, such as “Journey of the Fifth Horse,” for which he won the Obie, and “Eh?,” for which he won the Drama Desk Award for Best Actor. His success on stage caught the attention of Mike Nichols, who cast him in “The Graduate.” In 1969, Hoffman made his Broadway debut in Murray Schisgal’s “Jimmy Shine.” In 1974, Hoffman made his Broadway directorial debut with Schisgal’s “All Over Town.” In 1984, Hoffman garnered a Drama Desk Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Willy Loman in the Broadway revival of “Death of a Salesman,” which he also produced. In addition to starring in the Broadway production, a special presentation aired on television, for which Hoffman won the Emmy Award. Additionally, Hoffman received a Tony Award nomination for his role as Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice,” which he reprised from his long run on the London stage.
As a producer, Hoffman produced Tony Goldwyn’s feature film “A Walk on the Moon,” starring Diane Lane, Viggo Mortensen, Liev Schreiber and Anna Paquin. He executive-produced “The Devil’s Arithmetic,” which won two Emmy Awards.
Hoffman was born in Los Angeles and attended Santa Monica Community College. He later studied at the Pasadena Playhouse before moving to New York to study with Lee Strasberg.