Hoffman & drugs: 'No one can be cured'

Posted: February 05, 2014

AS MORE details surface on the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tattle's probably not going to be too funny today.

Hoffman's essential problem? He could portray "The Master" in a movie but he couldn't master his drug addiction in real life. It was an addiction for which he first sought treatment more than two decades ago.

The father of three had been sober for a long time before finding himself back in rehab as recently as 10 months ago.

When Hoffman was found dead Sunday in his bathroom, he had a syringe in his arm and glassine envelopes of what appeared to be heroin nearby, according to reports.

Some of the packets were stamped with the symbol for the ace of hearts and others with the words "Ace of Spades" and that symbol, an anonymous law-enforcement official said.

Stamps are common as a form of drug-world branding, and authorities make note of the ones they encounter. It wasn't immediately clear whether the ace-of-hearts and ace-of-spades stamps could lead investigators to any clues about the source of the items found in Hoffman's apartment.

* New York City medical examiners conducted an autopsy on Hoffman's body yesterday as investigators scrutinized evidence found in his apartment.

"Here you have an extraordinarily talented actor who had the resources, who had been in treatment, who obviously realized the problem of drugs and had been able to stay clean," said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

"Addiction is a chronic, progressive illness. No one can be cured," said Dr. Akikur Reza Mohammad, a psychiatrist and addiction-medicine specialist. "If someone is suffering from addiction, they cannot relax at any time. The brain neurochemistry changes . . . so these people are prone to relapse."

Hoffman's "is a story that unfortunately is not infrequent," said Volkow, "to have an individual who takes drugs in their 20s and stops for 20 years, relapse in their 40s and overdose."

* Broadway theaters will dim their marquee lights tomorrow night in memory of Hoffman, who earned three Tony Award nominations.

The Broadway League said yesterday that the lights will be dimmed for one minute starting at 7:45 p.m.

Hoffman made his Broadway debut in Sam Shepard's "True West," with John C. Reilly, in 2000, and followed it up three years later with Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night," with Brian Dennehy and Vanessa Redgrave. In 2012, he played a powerful Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman," by Arthur Miller, under the direction of Mike Nichols. Each time he earned a Tony nod.

He also was a longtime supporter of the off-Broadway Labyrinth Theatre Company, where he served as co-artistic director.

TATTBITS

* An LA judge says that Chris Brown should remain in a rehab facility and turned down a prosecutor's motion to have the R&B singer jailed over an arrest in Washington, D.C., last year.

Superior Court Judge James Brandlin says that Brown appears to be making progress in treatment and should remain there.

* The Super Bowl may have brought thousands of tourists to the New York metropolitan area, but they didn't check out a show when they were in the Big Apple.

In fact, they may have scared theatergoers away.

Data from The Broadway League shows that box-office grosses declined $2.4 million and ticket buyers fell by more than 15,000 for the week ending Sunday.

* Maestro Riccardo Muti has extended his contract with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra through 2020.

Muti, who was the music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1980 to 1992, said in a statement that he loves Chicago and performing with the orchestra's musicians.

* Disney's "Frozen" topped the animation honors at the 41st Annie Awards, taking home five trophies, including best animated feature.

The 3-D film, about a magically icy princess and her sister, won best directing for Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee at Saturday night's Annies, which are presented by the International Animated Film Society. It also conquered music, production design and voice-acting categories, the latter for star Josh Gad.

Live-action films also scored Annies, including "Pacific Rim," for animated effects, and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," for character animation.

"Futurama" won best general-audience animated TV show.

* Cheers to Fran Drescher, who's bringing a little perspective to her new role on Broadway as the wicked stepmother in " Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella."

The former "Nanny" said it's a good thing to feel some nerves and challenge yourself with something new, but "I'm a victim of a violent crime - I was raped at gunpoint. I'm a cancer survivor. I went through a very painful divorce. Life hands you blows. No one leaves this planet unscathed. But, as they say, that which doesn't kill us makes us strong. No one's going to die if I flub a line. I'll try my best, I'll give my all and I'll do it with great love and passion."

- Daily News wire services contributed to this report.


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