Where do we even start? For a while, Philip Seymour Hoffman — who was found dead in his apartment Sunday morning from what appears to be a drug overdose — seemed like America’s go-to sad sack, but that does absolutely no justice to his staggering range, or to the humanity he brought to his parts. Look on his filmography and despair at its unthinkable breadth – from Happiness to The Talented Mr. Ripley, from State and Main to Flawless, from Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead to The Master. He didn’t transform into these parts, he consumed them – in the best, most brilliant way possible. What was it that made them so clearly his? Maybe it was the vulnerability he brought to even his most disposable roles — the fact that, even at their worst, there was something to these characters, something in them we recognized in ourselves. Maybe that’s why this bewildering, tragic death hurts so much: because he feels like someone we knew, even if we only knew him from a movie screen. And because he felt like someone who understood us at our weakest, most fragile moments. Here are twelve of his best and most interesting parts. There are at least twelve others that could easily be on this list, and that doesn't even get into his astounding work in the theater. (Please share your own favorites in the comments.)BEGIN SLIDESHOW
Most Viewed Stories
Movies Need to Stop Explaining Everything (Looking at You, The Walk)
Marc Maron Will Finally Ask Lorne Michaels WTF Happened With His SNL Audition
Meryl Streep’s T-Shirt Promoting Suffragette Is Unfortunate
The One Podcast to Start With, Across 24 Topics
The Story Behind Jason Segel’s Dracula Puppet Musical
Julianna Margulies Insists There’s No Feud Between Her and Archie Panjabi; Archie Panjabi May Disagree
Report: Cathriona White Was Married When She Died
Stephenie Meyer Rewrote Twilight With Edward and Bella’s Genders Flipped
Watch Peggy Hill Sing Nicki Minaj’s ‘Hey Mama’
Are You This Woman? If So, Tom Hanks Has Your Student ID
Latest News from VultureKendrick Lamar Explains How N.W.A.'s Eazy-E Told a 'Different Type of Truth' in Powerful, Personal Homage
Lamar honored the late rapper in an as-told-to tribute for Paper.Theater Review: Trying to Make Pinter's Old Times New Again
"Each person’s past is its own story, and the stories don’t match."Model Files New Lawsuit Against Bill Cosby
She's seeking $75,000 in damages from Bill Cosby in a jury trial.Steve Rannazzisi Tried to Explain His 9/11 Lie to Howard Stern
"Now I have to be the guy who is very strange and weird and just said I lied about 9/11."9 Best New Songs of the Week
Selena and Janet are at their best in years.Cate Blanchett on Truth, Quentin Tarantino, and Her Very Big Year
"He’s entitled to his opinion."The Streaming Revolution Is Here. But Has It Just Brought Us More of the Same TV?
Casual is more TV. It's occasionally good TV. But it is the same TV we've seen before.The CW Originally Pitched Ashley Olsen As Blair for Gossip Girl
Oh, what could have been!Here Are The X-Files’ New Opening Credits
You might recognize them.Tom Hiddleston Explains Why Loki Wasn’t in Avengers: Age of Ultron
"It was actually imbalancing people's expectations."
This was inevitable.You Said That Bryan Cranston Couldn’t Play Blacklisted Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, But He Totally Could, That Was Very Stupid of You: Here’s the Trumbo Trailer
"I'm the one who types."Why Jane Austen Gets Scandal, and 9 Other Perfect Literature-TV Pairings
Like good food and fine wine.Gwyneth Paltrow Wants Women in Hollywood to Make As Much As Robert Downey Jr. Does
"If men are being paid a lot more for doing the same thing, it feels shitty."The Best of Netflix’s ‘Featuring a Strong Female Lead’ Categories
Oh, look, Hollywood representation for women!Grace Jones ‘Just Couldn’t Find’ Lady Gaga’s Soul
"Gaga came to me, and I just could not find a soul."Ashley Judd Says She Was Sexually Harassed by a ‘Famous’ Studio Head
The studio head asked her to watch him shower.Are You This Woman? If So, Tom Hanks Has Your Student ID
Good news, Lauren.New Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 Trailer: So Many Drums!
It's going down.Peter Sarsgaard Will Lend His Natural Creepiness to Twin Peaks
In a mystery role!