RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman

“But February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more step”

Don McLean, American Pie

Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of this era’s greatest actors, is dead at 46. The news came yesterday.

This is very sad. Back in June, another great actor, James Gandolfini, passed away at 51 years of age. The phenomenally talented singer, Amy Whinehouse passed away in 2011. She was only 27. Every day, individuals far lesser known – old and young – leave us. They go from this mystery called life to that mystery called death.

Each person I mentioned above enriched my life through their performances. I am sure many people feel the same way. And when I heard of their deaths, it left me with a cold chill and a disembodied whisper in my ear that said, “This is not forever.” The “this” being life.

Death, at 27, 46 or 51 is tragic. And death, even at a ripe old age, is sad. Life is not forever. I know those words, but it is often difficult to put the concept into an actionable perspective as we go about our lives.

Perhaps, there is an even greater tragedy and greater sorrow that can befall us than dying too young or simply dying at all. Maybe, that is the tragedy of never having lived up to our potential, or at least sincerely having strived to meet our potential. How many of us get sucked along in life, simply getting by without challenging ourselves and our abilities to make a genuine contribution to mankind?

There is no question that Philip Seymour Hoffman made a very substantial contribution to acting and to humanity in his short life. We are all the better for him having graced us with his talents. No learning lesson stemming from his death can take away the pain and sorrow that his family and friends are surely feeling at this time. My heartfelt condolences to them.

Today is February 3rd, 2014. 55 years ago today musicians Buddy Holly 22, Ritchie Valens 17 and Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr., better known as “The Big Bopper” 28, perished in a plane crash, along with 21 year old pilot Roger Peterson. Owing to Don McLean’s brilliant 1971 song, American Pie, today is remembered by some as “The Day the Music Died.”

Life is short. The sun will rise tomorrow, but will we? This is not forever. Act now. Live. Truly live!

Image courtesy of [Supertrooper] /

*Authors note: You might see this column pop up online in a newspaper, under the name Both Sides. I am publishing this column here first at For a bunch of years, I have been writing newspaper columns. Since my columns have received a good response on CYInterview, I thought I would share it with you. Hope you enjoy.

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