The private diaries of the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died of a heroin overdose on Feb. 2, reveal a man who was troubled by “demons” and struggled to control them with Narcotics Anonymous meetings, NBC News has learned exclusively.
But Hoffman also wrote about drug deals, and seems to have written some of the entries while in rehab for his admitted heroin addiction.
The Oscar-winning actor, 46, was found dead at 11:30 a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday in a Manhattan apartment with a syringe still in his arm. Police searched the apartment and found two small diaries -- one measuring about 6 by 8 inches and another approximately 7 by 9 inches.
According to multiple sources familiar with the contents, the hand-scrawled entries make reference to drug deals, to the actor’s struggle with his “demons,” and his attempt to stay clean by attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings in lower Manhattan.
But the diaries are also hard to read, with scribbled lines, and sentences that run into each other. The handwriting sometimes starts out clearly and then becomes illegible, said a source, as if he had written parts of the diaries while high.
“It’s stream of consciousness and difficult to follow,” said one source. “In one line he refers to ‘Frank who always owes money’ and on the same page he writes about a 15-year-old girl from Texas.”
“It seems he did at least part of it in rehab,” said another source. “It definitely contained some soul-searching. But there is also a fair amount of rambling that doesn’t make sense.”
Hoffman is known to have entered rehab for at least ten days in 2013, saying that his use of prescription drugs had escalated to using heroin. He is also reported to have attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in New York. Hoffman spoke openly about his substance abuse battles, saying he quit using drugs and alcohol at age 22.
Despite the diaries’ references to drug deals, however, police officials stress that the arrests made in connection with the case were the result of the publicity surrounding Hoffman’s death. A person walked in off the street to a New York City Housing Police post to report that he knew where Hoffman bought his drugs. As proof of his direct knowledge, the tipster showed police that he had Hoffman’s cell phone number in his phone.
Four people were arrested after the tip when police searched two apartments in a lower Manhattan apartment building. In one apartment they found hundreds of packets of heroin, according to a criminal complaint. Prosecutors declined to press charges against one individual and charged two with possession of cocaine, a misdemeanor. One suspect, Robert Vineberg, faces a felony charge of heroin possession with intent to sell. All three have pleaded not guilty.
Law enforcement officials told NBC News that authorities who searched Hoffman’s apartment found 49 full bags of heroin, 23 empty bags of heroin, four bags of white powder believed to be cocaine, as well as various prescription drugs.
In addition to the diaries, officials found books about Truman Capote. Hoffman won an Oscar for portraying the author in the 2005 film “Capote.”
Jonathan Dienst contributed reporting to this piece.
First published February 11 2014, 9:34 AM