Saturday 19 April 2014

Stars turn out to pay their final respects at Philip Seymour Hoffman's funeral

Friends, family and Hollywood’s finest filed into a Roman Catholic church in a frigid New York yesterday to pay their last respects to Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Oscar-winning actor.

Meryl Streep, Spike Lee and Cate Blanchett were among mourners at the private funeral for Hoffman, who was found dead of an apparent heroin overdose at his home last Sunday. He was 46.

Some 400 people in all were expected to attend the ceremony, which was held at the Church of St Ignatius Loyola, a grand, Gothic building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side that hosted Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s funeral in 1994.

A larger memorial service is expected later this month. Mimi O’Donnell, Hoffman’s partner of 14 years, looked on from the snow-lined pavement of Park Avenue with the couple’s three young children as an undecorated hearse delivered his coffin to the church at about noon.

It was carried inside by half a dozen pall-bearers.

O’Donnell, also 46, had recently been estranged from the acclaimed actor as he lapsed into drug addiction after more than 20 years of sobriety.

She held their younger daughter Willa, five. Tallulah, seven, and their son Cooper, 10, stood at her side.

Mimi O'Donnell, former partner of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, holds their daughter Willa as the casket arrives for the funeral of actor Hoffman in the Manhattan borough of New York, February 7, 2014. Hoffman was found in his Greenwich Village apartment on Sunday with a syringe in his arm and plastic bags containing a substance believed to be heroin. The exact cause of death is still unknown, pending further studies, according to a spokeswoman for New York City's Chief Medical Examiner. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT OBITUARY)
Mimi O'Donnell, former partner of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, holds their daughter Willa as the casket arrives for the funeral of actor

Hoffman, who won the Oscar for Best Actor in 2006 for his portrayal of Truman Capote, was found on the floor of his bathroom by his friend David Bar Katz, a screenwriter, who had been asked by O’Donnell to check on him after the actor failed to make a morning appointment to collect his children.

A hypodermic needle was still in his arm, according to officials, while about 70 bags of heroin were found inside his West Village apartment, to which he had decamped from the family’s home nearby.

Four people have been arrested and charged with drug offences possibly connected to substances found at the actor’s home.

Two were bailed after appearing in court on Thursday.

Past co-stars including Amy Adams, Michelle Williams and Joaquin Phoenix were among dozens of friends who attended a wake for Hoffman at the Frank E Campbell funeral home on Thursday evening.

Hoffman’s mother, Marilyn O’Connor, was also in Manhattan for the wake and funeral after travelling down from her home in upstate New York, where the actor grew up.

After Ms O’Connor helped her son through a first struggle with heroin after he graduated from New York University in 1989, he dedicated his Oscar win to her and hailed her for raising him and three siblings alone.

“Be proud, mom, because I’m proud of you,” he said.

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