(hŏf`mən, hôf`–), 1937–, American actor, b. Los Angeles. Not glamorous in the manner of earlier stars, Hoffman began on Broadway, but gained widespread popularity with his first major film, The Graduate (1967). Subsequently, he accepted a series of unusual tragic and comic character roles in such films as Midnight Cowboy (1969), Little Big Man (1976), Papillon (1973), Lenny (1974), Tootsie (1982), and Wag the Dog (1997). He won Academy Awards for his performances in Kramer vs. Kramer (1980) and Rain Man (1989). He returned to Broadway in Death of a Salesman (1984) and appeared on the London stage as Shylock in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (1989).
(1937– ) movie actor; born in Los Angeles. He dropped out of Santa Monica State College to become an actor and by 1961 was getting small parts in plays and television. By 1965 he seemed stalled off Broadway, but his role in The Graduate (1967) catapulted him to stardom. Noted for his versatility, his perfectionism, and his occasionally heavy-handed role in productions, he gained Oscars as best actor in Kramer v. Kramer (1979) and Rainman (1988). He returned to the theater for a run as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman (1984).