Hill Street Blues star Basil Hoffman has died at the age of 83. The news of the star’s death was broken by his manager Brad Lemack who posted a message on Twitter. Hoffman was a well-loved character actor who appeared in numerous movies and TV shows throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but it was the role of Ed Greenglass in Hill Street Blues that endeared him to many fans. There has been no cause of death revealed, but the actor was noted as having passed away on September 17th.
In his tweet, Lemack wrote of the Hill Street Blues standout, “”Sad news to report today on the passing of my longtime client (40 years!) & friend Basil Hoffman. Basil was a prolific, career character actor who earned over 200 credits in film, television and stage. Classy guy. Classic talent. Untouchable legacy. Well-earned, respected career.”
Hoffman’s career began in the 1960, but he was still working up to his death and appeared in a broad range of shows and movies, and seemed to be one of those actors who could successfully cross over into any genre and make it his own.
Hoffman was born in 1938 in Houston, Texas. After spending two years at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, he worked in the city for thirteen years, taking on many stage roles, hundreds of TV commercials and some small roles in TV shows such as One Life To Live on ABC. His first film role saw him appearing with Sophia Loren in Lady Liberty before he made a trip to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s. Over the next couple of years, his number of TV appearances soared as he took on guest roles in The Rockford Files, Police Woman, Columbo, M*A*S*H*, Kojak and Sanford and Son and also had recurring parts in Ellery Queen and Square Pegs.
During that decade, Hoffman found his footing in the film industry, and over the following decades he found himself working with some of the biggest directors in the industry such as Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Blake Edwards, Sydney Pollack and Robert Redford among many others. His biggest films were Close Encounters of The Third Kind, All The President’s Men, The Box, My Favorite Year, and the two Oscar winning movies Ordinary People and The Artist.
Outside of his screen roles, Hoffman also provided teaching and coaching privately, and would often be a guest lecturer at a number of institutions. He became the US State Department Cultural Envoy to Lebanon and taught both acting and directing at a number of universities in the country. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild and a member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He has also written acting text books such as Cold Reading and How to Be Good At It, and Acting and How To Be Good At It.
At the time of his death, Hoffman had two movies in post-production, but also had three movies just about to go into production and another three that had just been announced, proving that he was one of those actors who literally acted right up to the end. Our thoughts and condolences are with the actor’s family and friends at this time. This news originated on Deadline.