Hoffman, Dustin [key], 1937–, American actor, b. Los Angeles. Not glamorous in the manner of earlier stars, Hoffman began on Broadway, but gained widespread popularity with his first major film, The Graduate (1967). Subsequently, he accepted a series of unusual tragic and comic character roles in such films as Midnight Cowboy (1969), Little Big Man (1976), Papillon (1973), Lenny (1974), Tootsie (1982), and Wag the Dog (1997). He won Academy Awards for his performances in Kramer vs. Kramer (1980) and Rain Man (1989). He returned to Broadway in Death of a Salesman (1984) and appeared on the London stage as Shylock in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (1989).
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