Prolific character actor Philip Baker Hall, a favorite of filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, has died at the age of 90.
The news was confirmed by Los Angeles Times writer Sam Farmer. "My neighbor, friend, and one of the wisest, most talented and kindest people I’ve ever met, Philip Baker Hall, died peacefully last night," he tweeted. "He was surrounded by loved ones. The world has an empty space in it."
Hall was born in Toledo, Ohio, on September 10, 1931, though he would not begin acting until he was in his 30s. He made his film debut in 1970's Cowards, a drama about draft evasion in the Vietnam War, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
Hall is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Paul Thomas Anderson, which began with the 1993 short film, Cigarettes & Coffee. Anderson, who was working as a production assistant at the time, wrote the role for Hall after meeting him on a film shoot. "He was a fan of my work, so how could I not like him?" Hall recalled in an interview with The Washington Post. "We would talk, and have cigarettes and coffee."
Cigarettes & Coffee was adapted into Anderson's 1996 feature directorial debut, Hard Eight, in which Hall played the lead role of Sydney alongside a cast that included John C. Reilly, Samuel L. Jackson and Gwyneth Paltrow. He would go on to appear in Anderson's sophomore film, Boogie Nights, as adult film theater magnate Floyd Gondolli, and in his third film Magnolia, playing game show host Jimmy Gator.
Hall also worked with the likes of Robert Altman (1984's Secret Honor, where he played Richard Nixon), Michael Mann (1999's The Insider), and David Fincher (2007's Zodiac), alongside roles in movies such as Midnight Run, Rush Hour, The Truman Show, The Talented Mr. Ripley, 50/50 and Argo.
Over his decades-long career, he amassed some 185 acting credits across the big and small screen, with some of Hall's most beloved work resulting from his television guest roles on series like Good Times, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Modern Family. Notably, fans of Seinfeld will forever remember Hall as no-nonsense library cop Lieutenant Bookman, from the 1991 episode, "The Library."
Hall is survived by his wife, four daughters, four grandchildren and his brother.
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