Philip Baker Hall, the strong-voiced character actor who for five decades exuded calm authority, unwavering confidence and impeccable equanimity on screen, died Sunday at his home in Glendale, California. He was 90 years old. His daughter Anna Ruth Hall reported complications from emphysema as the cause.
Philip Baker’s numerous roles
Audiences believed in Mr. Hall’s portrayals of powerful men. In Robert Altman’s fictional “Secret Honor,” he played Richard M. Nixon meditating on his faults (1984). Mr. Hall’s portrayal was hailed by Roger Ebert in The Chicago Sun-Times as having “such searing intensity, such passion, such venom, such scandal, that we cannot turn away.”
The audience remembered Philip Baker for his famous acts in renowned films
Audiences remembered Mr. Hall when he played a character’s passionate conviction for laughter. He played Lieutenant Bookman, a detective for the New York Public Library chasing two decades of overdue penalties for a copy of Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer” in a 1991 episode of “Seinfeld.”Mr. Hall recalled decades later in an interview with Rolling Stone that Bookman was envisioned as “a frank, hard-spoken person,” similar to a Raymond Chandler investigator, and that he knew he’d nailed it during the audition.
About Philip Baker’s career
In a career that spanned more than 80 films and 200 television appearances, he was frequently cast as men who were used to being heard – doctors, lawyers, generals, detectives, cabinet members, priests, and an excessive number of judges. He told The Washington Post in 2017 that he didn’t want to perform any more of them because they were sedentary. “You never get to go for a walk.”
Filmmakers phoned Mr. Hall when a notion was ridiculous or a character’s behavior was outlandish. He played a dying, mentally unraveling game-show host in three of Paul Thomas Anderson’s feature films, including Magnolia (1999), which is famed for a torrential rainfall of frogs. He plays a budget-conscious porn-theater entrepreneur in “Boogie Nights” (1997). In 1996, he starred as a preternaturally calm retired professional gambler who is honestly attempting to help an aimless younger guy in “Hard Eight.”
Co-stars also praised Philip Baker Hall
Co-stars praised his inventiveness, with William H. Macy describing it as “a magnificent mystery.” Mr. Hall’s ability for laughing, according to Larry David, is considerably simpler: “He just behaves like he’s not in a comedy.” Mr. Hall simply shrugged when critics began referring to him as “the great Philip Baker Hall,” and added, “It’s because of my age.”
Appreciation: Philip Baker Hall played gamblers, producers and presidents. His best role? Friend https://t.co/Y4xPKMAJB6
— Candice Frederick (@ReelTalker) June 14, 2022
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