Aaron Sorkin: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death saved 10 lives

The acclaimed screenwriter/producer/director remembers a talk he one had with the late actor.

By Veronica Linares
Aaron Sorkin: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death saved 10 lives
Aaron Sorkin. UPI /Laura Cavanaugh | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Academy- and Emmy-award winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin remembered his late friend and fellow addict Philip Seymour Hoffman in a piece he wrote for Time magazine.

In his article, the 52-year-old West Wing creator explained why the death of the Capote star would save 10 lives based on a conversation the two had back in the day.


"Phil Hoffman and I had two things in common. We were both fathers of young children, and we were both recovering drug addicts," Sorkin begins his piece.

The producer goes on to say that while working with Hoffman on Charlie Wilson's War, the two would often get together to exchange stories about darker times.

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"It’s not unusual to have these mini-AA meetings," Sorkin wrote. "People like us are the only ones to whom tales of insanity don’t sound insane. 'Yeah, I used to do that.' I told him I felt lucky because I’m squeamish and can’t handle needles. He told me to stay squeamish. And he said this: 'If one of us dies of an overdose, probably 10 people who were about to won’t.' He meant that our deaths would make news and maybe scare someone clean."


Sorkin adds that reports on the actor's death need to "stop implying that if he’d just taken the proper amount then everything would have been fine."

"He didn’t die because he was partying too hard or because he was depressed -- he died because he was an addict on a day of the week with a y in it."

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"He’ll have his well-earned legacy," he continues, "his Willy Loman that belongs on the same shelf with Lee J. Cobb’s and Dustin Hoffman’s, his Jamie Tyrone, his Truman Capote and his Academy Award. Let’s add to that 10 people who were about to die who won’t now."

Hoffman was found dead of an apparent heroin overdose in his New York City apartment on Sunday. The New York City medical examiner's office said Wednesday that an autopsy conducted on the actor's body proved inconclusive. He is survived by his partner of 15-years, custom designer Mimi O'Donnell, and his three children.


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