Tribute to the actor on view in his hometown before moving to NYC location in the fall
Rochester, N.Y., May 26, 2022—The legacy of actor/director/producer Philip Seymour Hoffman is a point of pride for those in his hometown, who will soon be able to enjoy a memorial erected in his honor at George Eastman Museum, outdoors near the Dryden Theatre. On Saturday, May 28, a bronze life-size sculpture will be unveiled that depicts Hoffman appearing to be walking toward the movie theater.
His mother, retired judge Marilyn O’Connor, called the sculpture “a loving memorial” to her son who passed away in 2014 at the age of 46. Hoffman was an Oscar-winning actor who was also nominated for Tony and Emmy awards. He was revered by critics and fans alike as “the greatest actor of his generation.”
The tribute to Hoffman was commissioned by Irish-born philanthropist and film producer James Declan Tobin of Boston, whom O’Connor befriended at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015.
“There was a lot of silence after Phil died,” Tobin said. “I wanted to keep the light going. I wanted Phil’s family to know the impact he had on me and the world.”
The sculptor and the scholarship
Upon seeing a sculpture in Ireland of blues guitarist Rory Gallagher, Tobin knew he had found the artistic form for a tribute, as well as the artist. He commissioned a statue of Hoffman with the same sculptor, David A. Annand, an award-winning Scottish artist who is a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors.
Annand worked from photographs to capture the likeness. Hoffman’s family, along with Tobin and Annand, looked at more than 500 photographs to guide the sculpture’s appearance and encompass the desired emotion. Annand said he “tried to capture the subtle way he (Philip) smiled with his eyes rather than his mouth, looking for vitality, intelligence, talent, and that twinkle in the eye.” The statue depicts Hoffman in casual attire on his way to work with a messenger bag across his chest.
Tobin credits O’Connor for inspiring and supporting the project. “Marilyn gave me a big canvas on which to dream and the courage and the space to create,” he said. “Sometimes dreams come true, and now it is a reality because Marilyn was brave enough to embrace this tribute to Phil, which we hope will inspire future generations of actors and artists.”
The funding for the commission was provided by the Sumner Roy Kates Charitable Trust, of which Tobin serves as president and was created by his father. The trust also has established a scholarship fund in Hoffman’s name at the actor’s alma mater, New York University (NYU), for two students attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. The first recipients will be announced soon.
Both Tobin and Annand will be in attendance at the May 28 unveiling.
The installation and unveiling
New York City is the anticipated permanent location for the sculpture, but the family and trust decided to first exhibit it in Hoffman’s hometown of Rochester. O’Connor chose George Eastman Museum — the same location she chose for Hoffman’s local memorial service in 2014.
“We are honored to be able to present outside the Dryden Theatre this wonderful sculpture of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who made such an extraordinary contribution to the art of cinema,” said Bruce Barnes, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director of the George Eastman Museum.
The sculpture will remain on the museum grounds until the fall. The exact permanent location is still being determined but O’Connor prefers it be Greenwich Village, which “Phil called home for most of his life,” residing there for three decades beginning at age 18.
The private unveiling events begin at noon on Saturday, May 28. Eastman Museum Director Bruce Barnes will welcome those in attendance, including O’Connor, Hoffman’s father Gordon Hoffman and Hoffman’s sisters Dr. Emily Barr and Jill Delvecchio, who will assist in the unveiling of the sculpture.
The guest speaker will be John Ortiz, a close friend of Hoffman’s for 20 years, who served as co artistic director with Hoffman of the LAByrinth Theater Company and starred alongside him in stage productions and the 2007 film Jack Goes Boating. Ortiz currently stars in the ABC series Promised Land streaming on Hulu.
Following the unveiling on May 28, the public is encouraged to see the sculpture in person. There is no admission fee to visit the sculpture, as it will be outdoors and accessible from the museum parking lot at 900 East Ave., Rochester.
Media Contact: Dresden Engle, Dresden Public Relations [email protected]