Dustin Hoffman: 15 Things You Didn’t Know (Part 1)

Paul Meijering
Paul Meijering

Dustin Hoffman is a two time Oscar winning actor with an extensive trajectory on national and international cinema. Take a look at these 15 facts you probably didn’t know about him, and stay tuned for part two, coming soon!

Number Fifteen: His Next-Door House Blew Up

Hoffman lived with his wife Ann Byrne Hoffman in a Greenwich Village apartment in the ‘70s. One night, on March 6th, the house next to theirs unexpectedly blew up and caught fire. Investigations concluded that the house was inhabited by a group of ex-terrorists who had accumulated large amounts of explosives in the apartment. One of these explosives accidentally detonated, killing three people.

Number Fourteen: Dustin Hoffman Shared a House with Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall

Hoffman and fellow actor Gene Hackman, both struggling young actors, met at the Pasadena Playhouse in the late ‘50s and became friends. When Hoffman moved to New York, homeless and broke, he ended up living in Hackman’s kitchen floor in his one-bedroom apartment. Gene, who had originally offered him to stay just for a few nights, managed to find him another place to live in… in Robert Duvall’s house.

Number Thirteen: He Holds a World Record

The actor got a spot in the Guinness World Book of Records as the “Greatest Age Span Portrayed by a Movie Actor” in Little Big Man. In the movie, Hoffman plays the same character from age 17 to age 121.

Number Twelve: He Lost the Tip of a Finger

Hoffman got the tip of one of his fingers cut when the chair he was sitting in folded unexpectedly. The doctor on set ordered him to keep his hand up. During the scene in which the accident took place, which he filmed while on morphine, Hoffman can be seen with his hand in his chest, hidden behind this jacket.

Number Eleven: He Worked at Macy’s

Prior to being discovered, Dustin Hoffman used to work at the toy’s section at Macy’s. He once grabbed Gene Hackman’s toddler son and put him on display in the store. A woman actually tried to buy him, believing it to be a doll. A few decades later, he would star as a toy store owner in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.

Number Ten: His Cameo in ‘The Holiday’ Was a Coincidence

Hoffman’s brief cameo in The Holiday wasn’t planned. In fact, he didn’t even know the movie was being shot. He unintentionally ran into the set while driving around the city, and decided to film a short sequence that, eventually, made it into the final cut.

Number Nine: He Based His ‘Rain Man’ Performance on a Man He Knew

Shortly after moving to New York, Hoffman took a $42 a week job as a nurse aid at the New York Psychiatric Institute, close to his apartment. The actor always had dreamed of working in a mental institution and was having the time of his life there. During his stay at the institution, he became really close with one of his patients, nicknamed “The Doctor”. When he got the script for Rain Man, all of his memories from the NYSPI came flooding back to him. He based his character almost entirely on The Doctor.

Number Eight: Dustin Hoffman Saved a Life

In 2010, a 27-year old lawyer named Sam Dempster suffered a cardiac arrest while jogging around Hyde Park, in London. Dustin Hoffman, who happened to be on the scene at the time of the incident, saw the man collapse and ran to assist him. He then called an ambulance and waited with Sam until the doctors arrived. Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!

SHARE