Such a surprising star – and such a lucky break for the audience that he broke through in the late 60s with The Graduate: the perfect choice for the perfect film. I got such a surprise when I found out he was an LA native. He seemed pure NYC. As the Seventies progressed it looked like he got even better with every new film, with some extraordinary performances in magically good movies. Look at them! Midnight Cowboy. Little Big Man. Papillon. All the President’s Men… What a run! He got a bit of a telling off from Laurence Olivier on Marathon Man (“why don’t you try acting, dear boy?”) but starred in that Ur-film of abject masculine paragons, Kramer Vs. Kramer, getting the Oscar. He started directing Straight Time but left it to Ulu Grosbard and wouldn’t return to that role until Quartet in 2012. The Eighties were straightforward star vehicles albeit with some Oscar bids in Tootsie as the cross-dressing actor and the lovable numbers-obsessed autistic brother in Rain Man. In between more conventional parts in the 90s were the comic and satiric – wasn’t Wag the Dog pretty great?! Especially his take on Robert Evans! As the roles became less important and more supporting characters he took to kids’ films and quirky family comedy but made time for auteur directors like Tom Tykwer (Perfume) and most recently Noah Baumbach (The Meyerowitz Stories). His heyday may be in the rearview mirror but he is constantly surprising us as he always has. What a guy! Happy birthday Mr Hoffman. Please don’t stop acting!