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    In praise of … Dustin Hoffman

Here is the paradox: Dustin Hoffman makes his name playing anti-heroes (think Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy, or David Sumner in Straw Dogs), yet this week’s reports that he saved a jogger’s life are immediately convincing. The story goes that the Marathon Man star was walking in Hyde Park last month when a jogger collapsed with heart problems. Hoffman called an ambulance and waited with the stricken 27-year-old until paramedics came and he was out of immediate danger. All this chimes with the way Hoffman plays his parts: they’re generally a bit scrappy and more accustomed to losing than winning. But it’s also the actor himself: a Democrat activist, and willing to slog it out on stage as well as appear in front of the camera. Yet despite his credentials as a Serious Actor, he is not naturally pompous: again, that detail about the paramedics mistakenly whisking away his iPod rings true. And have we mentioned Meet the Fockers?

Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive

    In praise of … Dustin Hoffman

    Here is the paradox: Dustin Hoffman makes his name playing anti-heroes (think Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy, or David Sumner in Straw Dogs), yet this week’s reports that he saved a jogger’s life are immediately convincing. The story goes that the Marathon Man star was walking in Hyde Park last month when a jogger collapsed with heart problems. Hoffman called an ambulance and waited with the stricken 27-year-old until paramedics came and he was out of immediate danger. All this chimes with the way Hoffman plays his parts: they’re generally a bit scrappy and more accustomed to losing than winning. But it’s also the actor himself: a Democrat activist, and willing to slog it out on stage as well as appear in front of the camera. Yet despite his credentials as a Serious Actor, he is not naturally pompous: again, that detail about the paramedics mistakenly whisking away his iPod rings true. And have we mentioned Meet the Fockers?

    Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive

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