Schlesinger suffered a stroke in December 2000 and his condition had worsened in recent weeks, the BBC said. He was taken off life support Thursday and died Friday.
"Shakespeare said it best in Hamlet, 'We will never see the likes of him again,'" Hoffman said of the director.
Richard Gere, who acted in Shlesinger's "Yanks," praised the director as "audacious, challenging, irascible, witty, wise and deeply personal."
Sally Field said he was "a groundbreaking director and wonderful man."
Schlesinger's other films included "Billy Liar," "Darling," "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "Marathon Man," "Pacific Heights" and "Cold Comfort Farm."
Funeral arrangements were pending.