Aaron Sorkin, the creator and writer behind Sports Night, The West Wing, and The Newsroom, says he bonded with Philip Seymour Hoffman over their shared addiction struggles. According to a Time obituary penned by Sorkin, Hoffman always knew death was a possibility.
When describing their friendship on the set of Charlie Wilson's War, Sorkin remembers a conversation with Hoffman about his fear of needles. "He told me to stay squeamish. And he said this: 'If one of us dies of an overdose, probably 10 people who were about to won't,'" Sorkin remembers. "He meant that our deaths would make news and maybe scare someone clean."
So it's in that spirit that I'd like to say this: Phil Hoffman, this kind, decent, magnificent, thunderous actor, who was never outwardly "right" for any role but who completely dominated the real estate upon which every one of his characters walked, did not die from an overdose of heroin — he died from heroin. We should stop implying that if he'd just taken the proper amount then everything would have been fine.
He didn't die because he was partying too hard or because he was depressed — he died because he was an addict on a day of the week with a y in it. He'll have his well-earned legacy — his Willy Loman that belongs on the same shelf with Lee J. Cobb's and Dustin Hoffman's, his Jamie Tyrone, his Truman Capote and his Academy Award. Let's add to that 10 people who were about to die who won't now.