NEW YORK — Philip Baker Hall, the prolific character actor of film and theater who starred in Paul Thomas Anderson’s first movies and who memorably hunted down a long-overdue library book in Seinfeld, has died. He was 90.
Holly Wolfle Hall, the actor’s wife of nearly 40 years, on Monday said Hall died Sunday surrounded by loved ones in Glendale, Calif. She said Hall had been well until a few weeks earlier, and spent his final days in warm spirits, reflecting on his life.
“His voice at the end was still just as powerful,” said Wolfle Hall. Her husband, she added, never retired from acting.
In a career spanning half a century, Hall was a quintessential character actor, a ubiquitous hangdog face whose doleful appearance could shroud a booming intensity and humble gravitas. His range was wide, but Hall often played men in suits, trench coats and lab coats.
“Men who are highly stressed, older men, who are at the limit of their tolerance for suffering and stress and pain,” Hall told the Washington Post in 2017. “I had an affinity for playing those roles.”
Born in Toledo, Ohio, Hall initially devoted himself more to theater in Los Angeles, after moving out in 1975, then TV and movies. While shooting bit parts in Hollywood (an episode of Good Times was one of his first gigs), Hall worked with the L.A. Actor Theatre. In 1983, he played Richard Nixon in the play Secret Honor, a role he reprised in Robert Altman’s film adaptation.
Hall made an impression in small roles in other films, like 1988’s Midnight Run. But outside of theater, Hall was mostly doing guest roles in television. That changed when he was shooting a PBS program in 1992. Hall then encountered a production assistant in his early 20s named Paul Thomas …read more
Source:: Time – Entertainment