Dustin Hoffman broke down in tears at a special British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) event on Tuesday, held to honor his lengthy career.
The actor was the subject of a Life in Pictures retrospective in London, and he became teary as he recalled struggling through his own marriage breakdown while considering a role in the 1979 divorce drama "Kramer vs. Kramer." He told the audience, "I was getting divorced (from first wife Anne Byrne), I'd been partying with drugs and it depleted me in every way."
Hoffman almost refused to meet producer Stanley Jaffe and director/writer Bob Benton because he didn't like the script -- and he only joined the cast after it was rewritten. He adds, "We finished and I got offered a writing credit and stupidly turned it down, but it was a liberating experience for me to push all the stuff I was going through out there."
The 75-year-old was moved to tears once again when he later began discussing the movie's child star, Justin Henry, who landed the part with no acting experience. Hoffman explains, "I later discovered he was coming from a home that was breaking up. There was a moment during a break in the testing when I thought, this is the right kid, he's my son."
However, the mood of the evening lightened as Hoffman spoke about his role in the 1982 cross-dressing comedy "Tootsie," in which he played an unemployed actor who auditions as a woman to land a role in a soap opera. Hoffman recalled meeting Jon Voight in a restaurant and tricking his "Midnight Cowboy" co-star while he was in character: "I went over to him as Dorothy and had an entire conversation about how much I liked his work and managed to fool him."
Previous honorees of the BAFTA Life in Pictures event include Will Ferrell, Kenneth Branagh, Charlize Theron and Colin Firth.
My favorite time of watching Dustin Hoffman was not even a movie, although, I absolutely love him even more so now that he is older and "weathered"looking. I love his acting. The time Iam talking about was when he was on some interview with a younger woman and all of a sudden they started to giggle slightly and before long they were laughing hysterically with tears in their eyes. The next day he saw her on the red carpet interviewing, and he walked up to her, put his arm around her and said some very nice things about her and they both started to laugh again. THAT is my favorite Dustin Hoffman ever and it made me want to meet him all the more!
Like Sir Laurence Olivier once said to him while filming 'The Marathon man',
"Dustin why don't you try ACTING".