'Capote' star's body found by local playwright

Country trio Rascal Flatts serenaded the staff when they dined at Del Frisco's on Thursday night.
Country trio Rascal Flatts serenaded the staff when they dined at Del Frisco's on Thursday night.
Posted: February 04, 2014

LOCALLY BORN playwright and screenwriter David Katz found Philip Seymour Hoffman dead in his Manhattan apartment yesterday.

The Oscar-winning actor tragically died at age 46 of an apparent overdose. (See Gary Thompson's appreciation, Page 2.)

Katz did not return calls for comment. Reports noted that Katz and a female friend went to check on Hoffman after he failed to pick up his children.

Katz's father, Harry Jay Katz, told me Hoffman and his son "were best friends."

"David worked with [Hoffman] probably every day," Katz told me. "I'm devastated, [Katz's wife] Debra's devastated. He was just a wonderful guy."

Harry Jay Katz reminisced about Hoffman's down-to-earth attitude, saying Hoffman insisted on calling him Mr. Katz.

David Katz worked closely with Hoffman at New York City's Labyrinth Theater Company, an off-Broadway company where Hoffman had previously served as artistic director. Hoffman directed Katz's plays "Oh, the Power" in 2010 and "Ask/Tell" in 2011, through Labyrinth's Barn series.

Hoffman recently appeared in the film version of "God's Pocket," based on the novel written by former Daily News columnist Pete Dexter, based on Dexter's time here. The setting is a take on Philly's Devil's Pocket neighborhood. Hoffman plays a man whose stepson mysteriously dies at a construction site. The movie was directed by "Mad Men" star John Slattery and features Christina Hendricks, John Turturro and Richard Jenkins as the Dexter surrogate.

Hoffman was also known to vacation in Cape May.

'Good Day' up earlier

Fox 29 is extending its broadcast into the wee hours of the morning.

Starting this morning, "Good Day Philadelphia" now begins at 4 a.m., as opposed to its previous 4:25 a.m. start time. This move makes "Good Day" the earliest local news broadcast in the market.

The anchor lineups are similar to the previous configurations. Karen Hepp and Chris Murphy anchor from 4 to 6 a.m., with Sue Serio on weather and Kacie McDonnell on traffic. Sheinelle Jones shows up at 6 a.m., and Mike Jerrick comes in at 7 a.m.

Where's the beef?

John Bucci, the owner of John's Roast Pork (14 Snyder Ave.), tells me that the South Philly institution will start roasting its own beef for the first time since 1930. Before, it sold preroasted beef, but a new oven means it's got enough room to start roasting its own. "This is a game-changer for us," Bucci told me.

The sandwiches will be on dollar discount for the week, with $5 for a small and $7 for a large.

Bucci will start selling the roast beef on Wednesday to celebrate not only his own 48th birthday ("I'm as old as the Super Bowl!") but also his great-niece Briella's 1st birthday. Bucci said he sees honoring Briella in this way as a chance to help her build a connection to the family biz when she gets older.


Country-music trio Rascal Flatts stopped by Del Frisco's (1426-28 Chestnut St.) on Thursday night while on tour with Lady Antebellum. I hear they booked the private dining room, but didn't warn the restaurant they are, y'know, rock stars because they wanted to keep everything down to earth and low-key. The band didn't just dine, they also serenaded staffers, bringing their own 5-foot Bose speaker. That's quite the unconventional tip.

Mitts, Feeley welcome son

Congrats to former Eagle A.J. Feeley and former Olympian Heather Mitts, who welcomed their son on Thursday. Proud new mama Mitts tweeted a photo of Connor William Feeley.

Mitts and Feeley were married in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in 2010. Mitts announced in the October issue of Philadelphia magazine that she was expecting. Mitts retired from soccer in March and joined the Philadelphia Union as a sideline reporter and analyst.

Feeley was recently spotted celebrating Brent Celek's birthday at karaoke spot Yakitori Boy along with Todd Herremans, Hugh Douglas and Tra Thomas. Good thing he got his partying in now - he'll be daddy-ing it up for the foreseeable future.

Email: eichelm@phillynews.com

On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN

Online: ph.ly/DNGossip


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