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Philip Baker Hall, Prolific Character Actor, Dies at 90

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Philip Baker Hall Magnolia

Veteran actor Philip Baker Hall has died. The prolific performer, who’d appeared in films like Secret Honor, Hard Eight, Magnolia, and Boogie Nights, among many others, was 90 years old. His passing was announced by Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times with a post on Twitter.

“My neighbor, friend, and one of the wisest, most talented and kindest people I’ve ever met, Philip Baker Hall, died peacefully last night,” the post reads. “He was surrounded by loved ones. The world has an empty space in it.”

Hall made his feature film debut in 1970 with a role in Cowards, a drama focusing on draft evasion in the Vietnam War. After spending several years in film and television, he picked up his first starring movie role as Richard Nixon in 1984’s Secret Honor

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. Hall has also starred in movies like Hard Eight and Duck, and the character actor has also had memorable roles in many other films, including Midnight Run, Ghostbusters II, Say Anything…, Air Force One, Boogie Nights, The Truman Show, Magnolia, Zodiac, Argo, and the Rush Hour series.

Hall has also appeared in dozens of television movies and shows over the decades. His TV work includes notable programs like Emergency!, M*A*S*H, The Waltons, T.J. Hooker, Miami Vice, Family Ties, Seinfeld, Cheers, 3rd Rock from the Sun, The Fugitive, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Loop, Modern Family, Childrens Hospital, and BoJack Horseman. His final feature film was 2017’s The Last Word with his recurring role in the Netflix series Messiah, which was released in 2020, serving as his last performance.

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There has been no shortage of characters portrayed by the prolific character actor over the years. He has many times played more serious, dramatic characters, while other roles have required him to be more comedic. Reflecting back upon his career in a 2012 interview with A.V. Club, Hall explained how he feels he’s been able to balance out his body of work with the amount of roles he has portrayed.

“Well, I’ve done so many comic roles, too, over the years that I’ve balanced it out,” he said. “So it’s okay. Also, those guys are often pretty interesting to play, because they often have their own odd little sides to them that can be explored and that are fun to work with. So, yeah, I’m cool with whatever comes my way. I’m just happy to still be working and to have been able to do it this long. It’s a privilege.”

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