Philip Baker Hall
Relocating to California in the early '80s, Hall helped to develop a stage production at the Los Angeles Theater Center that would forever alter the course of his career. The play was Secret Honor, a one-man show about former president Richard Nixon. Set in the office of Nixon's Saddle River, New Jersey, home, where he lived after his resignation from office, the piece was a boozy, bilious rant against, among others, Castro, Kissinger, and the Kennedys. At one early performance, director Robert Altman was in the audience and came backstage to tell Hall he wanted to take the play to New York and make it into a movie.
Released in 1983, the film version of Secret Honor captured a tour de force performance by Hall; though it never achieved mainstream success, it put him on the Hollywood map. Things ratcheted up even more following his appearance in a 1991 episode of Seinfeld. As Lt. Bookman, Hall stepped into the realm of mass-audience pop culture, and the impact was huge. After spending decades as a well-kept secret known primarily to theater hounds in New York and L.A., Hall became a familiar face thanks to Seinfeld and, more recently, Paul Thomas Anderson.
Hall formed a friendship with the young, audacious filmmaker in 1992 while he was doing a film for PBS. Anderson was a volunteer production assistant who approached Hall with a script for a half-hour film. Blown away by the quality of the script, Hall signed up for the project. The short, Cigarettes and Coffee, made it to the Sundance Film Festival and earned Anderson plenty of attention – as well as the funding for his debut feature, Hard Eight. Hall was cast as an aging gambler who befriends a younger gambler, played by John C. Reilly, in seedy Reno, Nevada. The film, which co-starred Gwyneth Paltrow, was critically praised, and helped Anderson set up his 1997 porn-world epic Boogie Nights. Hall joined the cast as Floyd Gondoli, a businessman who tries to warn Burt Reynolds' Jack Horner of the impending video revolution.
Hall went on to do more work the following year in such films as Air Force One, The Truman Show, Rush Hour, and Psycho. In 1999 alone, Hall appeared in The Insider, Cradle Will Rock, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and in Anderson's ensemble piece Magnolia. More recently he has appeared in the box office hit Bruce Almighty, The Amityville Horror, Zodiac and Rush Hour 3. Hall's upcoming films include The Lodger, Wonderful World and All Good Things.
In addition to being kept busy by a full work schedule, he and his third wife, Holly, are parents of a daughter, Anna Ruth. He also has two adult daughters and four grandchildren.
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Philip Baker Hall Facts
|Birthday||September 10, 1931 (90)|
|Birthplace||Toledo, Ohio, USA|
|The Truman Show|
|The Talented Mr. Ripley|