Dustin Hoffman (Dustin Lee Hoffman) is a famous actor and filmmaker with an extensive trajectory on national and international cinema. Take a look at these fifteen surprising facts you probably didn’t know about him.
Number One: Dustin Hoffman Is a Doctor Dropout. He didn’t always dream of becoming a Hollywood actor. In fact, he enrolled at Santa Monica College in ’55 and began his studies in medicine. He dropped out a year later and moved to New York to act.
Number Two: His Cameo in ‘The Holiday’ Was a Coincidence. Hoffman’s brief cameo in The Holiday wasn’t planned. In fact, he didn’t even know the movie was being shot. He unintentionally ran into the set while driving around the city, and decided to film a short sequence that, eventually, made it into the final cut.
Number Three: He Passed as Homeless for a Role. For his Midnight Cowboy’s audition, Hoffman simply dressed up as a homeless person: dirty raincoat, dirty hair, and an unkempt beard. He met director John Schlesinger in full character in New York’s Times Square and got the role.
Number Four: Dustin Hoffman Shared a House with Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall. Dustin Hoffman and fellow actor Gene Hackman, both struggling young actors, met at the Pasadena Playhouse in the late ‘50s and became friends. When Hoffman moved to New York, homeless and broke, he ended up living in Hackman’s kitchen floor in his one-bedroom apartment. Gene, who had originally offered him to stay just for a few nights, managed to find him another place to live in… in Robert Duvall’s house.
Number Five: He Disguised Himself as a Woman for a School Meeting. During filming for Tootsie was taking place, and as a way for him to polish his role, Hoffman showed up at her daughter’s parents evening at school dressed up as Aunt Dorothy, from the movie. He looked and sounded so convincing no one realized who he actually was.
Number Six: He Actually Ran in Marathon Man. For various scenes in the movie, the actor had to pretend to be out of breath. Instead of faking it, he would run for a half-mile and come back into the set out of breath, ready to shoot.
Number Seven: He’s a Huge Archie Comics Fan. The actor has proved to be a bit of a nerd. He is a life-long lover of comics and owns every Archie Comics issue ever printed.
Number Eight: His Next-Door House Blew Up. Hoffman lived with his wife Ann Byrne Hoffman in a Greenwich Village apartment in the 1970’s. One night, on March 6th, the house next to theirs unexpectedly blew up and caught fire. Investigations concluded that the house was inhabited by a group of ex-terrorists who had accumulated large amounts of explosives in the apartment. One of these explosives accidentally detonated, killing three people.
Number Nine: He Holds a World Record. The actor got a spot in the Guinness World Book of Records as the “Greatest Age Span Portrayed by a Movie Actor” in Little Big Man. In the movie, Hoffman plays the same character from age 17 to age 121.
Number Ten: He Considered Becoming a Pianist. Dustin studied piano for most of his childhood until he went away to college. He used to play the instrument for his patients at the New York Psychiatric Institute. However, he later realized he just wasn’t skilled enough to become a professional musician: “I just was not gifted in music. I did not have an ear.”
Number Eleven: The Actor Worked at Macy’s. Prior to being discovered, Dustin Hoffman used to work at the toy’s section at Macy’s. He once grabbed Gene Hackman’s toddler son and put him on display in the store. A woman actually tried to buy him, believing it to be a doll. A few decades later, he would star as a toy store owner in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.
Number Twelve: He Got Paid $7.5 Million for a Week of Work. The Meet the Parents’ star managed to negotiate a $7.5 million deal for just a week worth of work, on Little Fockers, after reshooting of some scenes was necessary. Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro earned $20 million each while the film itself grossed $100 million.
Number Thirteen: He Based His ‘Rain Man’ Performance on a Man He Knew. Shortly after moving to New York, Hoffman took a $42 a week job as a nurse aid at the New York Psychiatric Institute, close to his apartment. The actor always had dreamed of working in a mental institution and was having the time of his life there. During his stay at the institution, he became really close with one of his patients, nicknamed “The Doctor”. When he got the script for Rain Man, all of his memories from the NYSPI came flooding back to him. He based his character almost entirely on The Doctor.
Number Thirteen: Hoffman Lost the Tip of a Finger. He got the tip of one of his fingers cut when the chair he was sitting in folded unexpectedly. The doctor on set ordered him to keep his hand up. During the scene in which the accident took place, which he filmed while on morphine, Hoffman can be seen with his hand in his chest, hidden behind this jacket.
Number Fourteen: Dustin Hoffman Saved a Life. In ’10, a 27-year old lawyer named Sam Dempster suffered a cardiac arrest while jogging around Hyde Park, in London. Dustin Hoffman, who happened to be on the scene at the time of the incident, saw the man collapse and ran to assist him. He then called an ambulance and waited with Sam until the doctors arrived. Thanks for reading!
Featured: MusicSnake – Elusive Light