Personal detailsName: Dustin Hoffman
Born: 8 August 1937 (Age: 77)
Where: Los Angeles, California USA
Height: 5' 6"
Awards: Won 2 Oscars, 3 BAFTAs and 6 Golden Globes
All about this star
Not blessed with matinee idol good looks, Dustin Hoffman has had to work hard for what he's got. And what he's got is one of the most impressive CVs in Hollywood history. Even the most casual fan of cinema would recall his bumbling Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate, his seedy, desperate Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy, his cross-dressing soap star in Tootsie or his brilliant autistic in Rain Man. Beyond this, he was the anguished, paranoid Lenny Bruce in Lenny: the student athlete dentally challenged by Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man: the mild-mannered mathematician driven to unspeakable violence in Straw Dogs: the pushy, canny journalist Carl Bernstein, hunting President Nixon in All The President's Men: the myopic weakling swindler brutalized alongside Steve McQueen in Papillon: a pitifully human Willie Loman, drowning in failure in Death Of A Salesman. He was seven times nominated for an Oscar, eleven times for a Golden Globe. He was an off-Broadway star, an on-Broadway star and a big hit in the West End of London. Clearly, he is one of the finest actors of his, or any other generation.
He was born on the 8th of August, 1937, at the Queen Of Angels hospital in Los Angeles. His father was Harry Hoffman, his mother Lillian (nee Gold). Harry's parents had come to the US from Romania, setting up a barber's shop in Chicago. His father, a devout Jew, found it hard to cope with this new life, endlessly studying the Talmud and leaving his wife, known as Red, to run the business. He'd die in a mental home when Harry was just 9, the boy being forced to help support the family from an unreasonably early age. Harry would train as a carpenter, but his ambitions would expand when he met and married Lillian. A big movie fan, she'd dreamed of a life in showbiz, indeed she'd once passed an audition to dance in a big stage show but had been thwarted by her severely Orthodox mother. Now she would seek the limelight in a different way, persuading Harry to go west and try to make it as a film producer. So, in the mid-1930s, in the midst of the Great Depression, she, Harry and Ronald (their young son, named after Ronald Colman), climbed into their Model A Ford and took off for California.
Where the Joad family in Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath would suffer persecution and starvation in 1930s California, the Hoffmans, arriving a little earlier, were luckier with Harry finding work digging ditches for the new freeway system. Astutely, though, he quickly moved closer to his Hollywood goal by taking a job installing sewerage pipes at Columbia studios. Going beyond his remit, getting involved, he soon found himself a place in the props department, rising to the position of supervisor.