Actor Philip Baker Hall, known for films such as Magnolia and Boogie Nights, has died aged 90.
The news was originally shared by neighbor and Los Angeles Times writer Sam Farmer on Twitter. “My neighbour, friend and one of the wisest, most talented and kindest people I have ever met, Philip Baker Hall, passed away peacefully last night,” he wrote. “He was surrounded by loved ones. The world has an empty space in him.
His wife Holly Wolfle Hall later confirmed the news to The Associated Press. She said he was fine until relatively recently and spent his last days reflecting on his life in a warm spirit. “His voice at the end was still so powerful,” she said.
Defined as a legendary character actor, Hall began on stage in New York before embarking on a Hollywood career in the 1970s with small roles in Coma and television shows such as M*A*S*H and Good times. “When I came here, I was totally naive. I didn’t know where to start,” Hall told The Washington Post. “Television really didn’t make sense to me. We never had a television. I did not see myself making a film. Already. It didn’t seem possible or likely.
But Hall continued to find work throughout the 80s with roles in Ghostbusters II, Midnight Run and Say Anything and in the 90s with Air Force One, The Rock and The Truman Show.
He befriends Paul Thomas Anderson while the young director was working as a production assistant on a PBS film. Anderson then gave her roles in Hard Eight, Boogie Nights and Magnolia, which led to even more work for Hall in the following decades.
Larry David also used it in Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. “Philip made me laugh harder than any actor I’ve worked with,” David once said.
In 2012, Hall said his Seinfeld character, library cop Joe Bookman, was arguably his best known to most people. “Bookman is the one everyone remembers,” he said. “People will forever say, in the supermarket or wherever, no matter where, ‘Oh, you’re Bookman, aren’t you? I really loved that Bookman. Now I know you’ve done a lot of other things, but I loved that Bookman character. When they say, “I know you’ve done a lot of other things,” it’s like, “You don’t know half of it! But Bookman? Bookman presses on a reply button. And I’m not ungrateful for that.
Hall’s big screen credits also included Dogville, The Insider, Zodiac, Argo, Bruce Almighty and The Amityville Horror while on the small screen he was also seen in The Newsroom and Modern Family and his voice was heard in Bojack Horseman.