Although Dustin Hoffman, 71, has been on the big screen for over 40 years, winning two Academy Awards and earning seven nominations, he told Parade Magazine that one of his off-screen accolades has flown under the radar.
“Warren Beatty’s reputation was that he screwed around a lot. And yet he will tell you, ‘Hoffman screwed around more than I did,’” he said.
Dustin said he began earning a reputation of his own after scoring the lead role in “The Graduate,” followed by “Midnight Cowboy” and two Oscar nominations.
“It got in the press that I was difficult,” he told the mag. “That was my signature — they want everyone to have a signature.”
The actor who described himself as the “short, funny-looking guy with acne,” tells the mag that he fell into acting by accident.
“It was only because I couldn’t do anything else. I was flunking out of college,” he said. “And I didn’t want to go into the service because my brother had gone in, and he said, ‘Whatever you do, Dusty, don’t go into the service.’”
Instead, Dustin headed for The Big Apple, where he spent 10 years unemployed, rooming with other hopeful actors.
“I roomed with Gene Hackman, who was friends with Robert Duvall,” he said. “They were also unemployed. We’d have little parties because we didn’t have any money. You know, the Chianti bottle with the candle on it. Everybody comes over and brings stuff. And if someone were to say, at any of those get-togethers, ‘See those three guys there? They’re going to wind up being movie stars,’ the place would have laughed. And we would have laughed the loudest, because we were beat up by all the rejection.”
Today, looking back, Dustin considers himself to be much happier.
“It’s true. I am a happier person now,” he admitted. “I’ve changed a lot. I had a big break-through after I took a couple of years when I didn’t want to do movies. I went back to work with total passion. You change as you go. Time alters you. It’s been a flip from the time when I was a shy, unhappy teenager. Now I can appreciate my own joy and my sense of irony.”
Dustin has been married to his wife Lisa for 28 years and has six kids, including two with his first wife, Anne Byrne. Despite his silver screen resume, he considers his kids his greatest accomplishments.
“They get mad at me for telling everyone about their accomplishments or for finding cute girls for my sons,” he says. “But even though they love to hate me for it or cruelly imitate me, I can’t stop bragging. They are my true credits.”
But with his career as hot as ever, it’s his screen credits which keep piling up. This year he voiced characters in “Kung Fu Panda” and “The Tale of Despereaux.” He currently appears in “Last Chance Harvey,” a relationship drama in which his character falls in love with Emma Thompson’s character.
“Don’t worry,” Dustin tells the mag, “There’s no bedroom scene. We didn’t have enough money for the special effects to make me look great naked.”