New York has been a weird place to be this week. I belong to a writing group many members of which are members of the LABryrinth Theater. Almost every actor I know it seems is devastated if not because they worked with him then because they were friends or because they simply admired his art. I spoke to a client's wife last night who told me the client, Clark, was close with Phil and had been a mess and while she had not known him personally she had been crying all week. The loss has been taken hard. I swear I can feel it palpable in the air.
My only personal memory of Phil is a silly one but of course I can't help but remember it now. I met him back in LA about 15 years ago. I was with John Ortiz (Co-Founder of the LAB) and Javi Mulero at El Coyote Cafe in Los Angeles. Phil was friends with them so he joined us for dinner.
I remember sitting next to him being so intimidated even then. He was one of the most riveting actors I'd ever seen and I sat there wondering how this very regular joe just hanging out at the Mexican restaurant produced such genius. I don't remember what we all spoke about that night but if I had to assign one word to my memory of him from that brief encounter it would be humble. He came across as very humble and very kind.
I could go on and on as most of us I suspect could so I will leave this with a quote I came across recently in an interview Phillip did with The Rubin Museum of Art. If you have the time this is a great one. The subject is happiness.
"If I don't allow people to somehow identify with the worst inside themselves they never have a chance at actually walking out with that person in their heart or in their minds. They're too easy to dismiss."
Phillip Seymour Hoffman