Dustin broke new ground for all actors -- not only were stars no longer limited to heroic, larger-than-life characterizations, but in his wake virtually anyone, regardless of their seeming physical limitations, could attain success on the big screen.
Born August 8, 1937 in Los Angeles, California, Hoffman originally studied to become a doctor, but later focused his attentions on acting, performing regularly at the Pasadena Playhouse alongside fellow aspirant Gene Hackman
In 1967 Hoffman made his film debut with a tiny role in the feature The Tiger Makes Out
. Mike Nichols
then cast him in the lead role in his 1967 black comedy The Graduate
. His performance in the movie launched the career of one of the most brilliant actors Hollywood has ever produced.
Appearing in countless films with various roles from different genres, Hoffman has won two Academy Awards (Kramer vs. Kramer
and Rain Man
) and has been nominated for five more (The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, Lenny, Tootsie
, and Wag the Dog
) during his successful acting career.
In April of 1999, Hoffman was recognized by the American Film Institute in A Tribute to Dustin Hoffman when he was presented with an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award.