1. He has been known for his versatile portrayals of antiheroes and vulnerable characters. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1979 (for Kramer vs.
2. He first drew critical praise for starring in the play Eh?, for which he won a Theatre World Award and a Drama Desk Award.
3. This was soon followed by his breakthrough 1967 film role as Benjamin Braddock, the title character, in The Graduate.
4. Aside from his two Academy award wins, Hoffman has been nominated for seven Academy Awards, plus thirteen Golden Globes, winning six and has won four BAFTAs, three Drama Desk Awards, a Genie Award, and an Emmy Award.
5. Hoffman received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1999, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2012.
6. Hoffman was born on August 8, 1937 in Los Angeles, the second son of Lillian .
7. His father worked as a prop supervisor at Columbia Pictures before becoming a furniture salesman. Hoffman was named after stage and silent screen actor Dustin Farnum.
8. Hoffman is Jewish, from an Ashkenazi family of immigrants from Ukraine and Romania. He graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1955 and enrolled at Santa Monica College with the intention of studying medicine.
9. You are not good-looking enough.” He also took classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City.
10. Hoffman initially hoped to become a classical pianist, having studied piano during much of his youth and in college.
11. While at Santa Monica College, he also took an acting class, which he assumed would be easy, and “caught the acting bug.”
12. I did not have an ear.” Now an aspiring actor, he spent the next ten years doing odd jobs, being unemployed, and struggling to get any available acting roles.
13. His first acting role was at the Pasadena Playhouse, alongside future Academy Award-winner, Gene Hackman. After two years there, Hackman headed for New York City, with Hoffman soon following.
14. We just wanted to work.” During this period, Hoffman got occasional television bit parts, including commercials but, needing income, he briefly left acting to teach.