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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 13:42 GMT
Philip Seymour Hoffman: The actors' actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman's role in Capote as the eponymous US writer has earned him further accolades as one of America's finest film and stage actors.

Hoffman is arguably one of the greatest film actors of his generation but relatively few cinema goers will recognise his name.

He even has one of those faces that seems to change with every role.

His latest film role as Truman Capote is so accomplished it has elevated the profile of a film that has made little impact at the box office.

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The 38-year-old's performance as the outspoken gay writer has earned him rave reviews. He portrays Capote during a tumultuous period in his life when he was researching his novel In Cold Blood.

The writer had travelled to Kansas to follow the story of the brutal murder of the Clutter family, killed during a robbery at their home in 1959.

Two men - Perry Smith and Richard Hickock - were charged with the murders of the family of four.

During his research Capote spoke many times with Smith, and developed a sympathy for him. Both Smith and Hickock were later executed for the murders.

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote
Best actor winner:
Screen Actors Guild awards
Chicago Film Critics
Golden Globes
LA Film Critics
National Board of Review
Best actor nominations from:
Independent Spirit Awards

Hoffman studied acting at college in New York. After a series of small theatre and film roles his first big success was in Paul Thomas Anderson's film Boogie Nights.

He has also enjoyed great success on the stage, winning Tony nominations for roles in True West and Long Day's Journey Into Night.

Although a favourite of independent cinema he has also taken a number of small mainstream roles, in comedy Patch Adams, Red Dragon and romantic comedy Along Came Polly.

But he remains highly regarded for his understated portrayals in films such as Magnolia, as a nurse to a terminally ill patient and The Talented Mr Ripley, the effete Freddie Miles.

His latest role, however, should propel him to recognition in more homes - he is the villain in the new Mission Impossible film alongside Tom Cruise.

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