->''"Dustin said, 'It's not like I don't like my portrait--it's beautiful. But I don't think it captures my character.' He wanted (Captain) Hook to look "less villainous". So I went to Dustin's house so he could show me the expression he wanted, and he answered the door in a bathrobe, eating a gallon of ice cream with a spoon. He was a very nice guy; we're walking and talking, and he suddenly goes into Actor Mode, making faces to explain what he wants. I went tearing back into my studio to find a still that approximated his expression."''
-->--'''Drew Struzan''', artist of the theatrical poster for ''Film/{{Hook}}''

Dustin Lee Hoffman (born August 8, 1937) is an American actor, and a man who embodies the highest ideals of the acting art in North America. What's more, he did it by breaking all sorts of rules.

For one thing, when he first tried getting work, it was a 10 year struggle in the New York theater scene considering he was as un-movie star-like as you can get: short, big nosed and Jewish with the air of a shy introvert. However, perceptive directors like Mike Nichols realized what he could do; for example, in ''Film/TheGraduate'' in 1967, he took the world by storm with a powerful sincerity in his performance which took MethodActing to its height. Furthermore, he is credited for expanding the possibilities for different ethnicities to reach Hollywood stardom during the UsefulNotes/NewHollywood era as an actor who defied the stereotypes to hit it big his way.

Hoffman displayed a smart career sense when he chose the slimy disreputable hustler, Ratso in ''Film/MidnightCowboy'', for his major follow up role. In doing so, he set the reputation of the actor who can play ''any role'' like a master. These included; a 121-year-old survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn in ''Film/LittleBigMan'', a quiet intellectual who has to get tough in Creator/SamPeckinpah's ''Film/StrawDogs'', Creator/LennyBruce in ''Lenny'', a sensitive father in ''Film/KramerVsKramer'', an actor playing a woman in ''Film/{{Tootsie}}'', an autistic savant in ''Film/RainMan'' and the voice of a deeply complex red panda kung fu master in the ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'' franchise among others. He won the UsefulNotes/AcademyAward for Best Actor both for ''Rain Man'' and ''Kramer'' and won a voice acting Annie Award for ''Kung Fu Panda''. In 2012, he had his directorial debut with ''Film/{{Quartet}}''.

He has a reputation for being difficult to work with (the old joke goes that you don't direct Dustin Hoffman, ''he'' directs ''himself''), but this is tolerated because of the fact that his suggestions/demands are made by someone who cares about his work and they often help his films become better. It has, however, caused him to walk away from more than a few jobs (most famously ''{{Film/Popeye}}'', [[TookTheBadFilmSeriously of all things]]), which was [[AdamWesting parodied]] by his character--an imperious acting coach--in ''Tootsie''.

Even better, if you are cast with him in a film he cares about and Hoffman feels your acting is not good enough for him, cancel your free time because you're in for some tutoring from him. If all goes well, you'll end up doing the best performance of your career because of what he taught you (for example, take a look at Creator/WillFerrell's performance in ''Film/StrangerThanFiction''). For instance, the fact that Creator/JackBlack had some of his most acclaimed acting in ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'' is no accident, considering Hoffman insisted on coaching him through each {{Action Film Quiet Drama Scene}}.

!!Partial filmography:
* ''Film/TheGraduate'' (1967)
* ''Film/MidnightCowboy'' (1969)
* ''Film/LittleBigMan'' (1970)
* ''Film/StrawDogs'' (1971)
* ''Literature/{{Papillon}}'' (1973)
* ''Film/AllThePresidentsMen'' (1976)
* ''Film/MarathonMan'' (1976)
* ''Film/KramerVsKramer'' (1979)
* ''Film/{{Tootsie}}'' (1982)
* ''Theatre/DeathOfASalesman'' (1985) (TV)
* ''Film/{{Ishtar}}'' (1987)
* ''Film/RainMan'' (1988)
* ''Film/FamilyBusiness'' (1989)
* ''Film/DickTracy'' (1990)
* ''Film/BillyBathgate'' (1991)
* ''Film/{{Hook}}'' (1991)
* ''Film/AccidentalHero'' (1992)
* ''Film/{{Outbreak}}'' (1995)
* ''Theatre/AmericanBuffalo'' (1996)
* ''Film/{{Sleepers}}'' (1996)
* ''Film/WagTheDog'' (1997)
* ''Film/{{Sphere}}'' (1998)
* ''Film/TheMessengerTheStoryOfJoanOfArc'' (1999)
* ''Film/RunawayJury'' (2003)
* ''Film/FindingNeverland'' (2004)
* ''Film/IHeartHuckabees'' (2004)
* ''[[Film/MeetTheParents Meet The Fockers]]'' (2004)
* ''Literature/{{Perfume}}'' (2006)
* ''Film/MrMagoriumsWonderEmporium'' (2007)
* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'' (2008)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTaleOfDespereaux'' (2008)
* ''Literature/BarneysVersion'' (2010)
* ''[[Film/MeetTheParents Little Fockers]]'' (2010)
* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2'' (2011)
* ''Series/{{Luck}}'' (2011-2012) (TV)
* ''Film/{{Chef}}'' (2014)
* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda3'' (2016)
* ''Series/{{Medici}}'' (2016-) (TV)
* ''Film/TheMeyerowitzStories'' (2017)

!!Tropes associated with Dustin Hoffman and his characters include:
* LargeHam: For a really serious actor, what could you expect?
* MethodActing: Especially in his early years, he was practically the personification of method acting, going to extreme lengths to not just play a character but to become him completely. Upon learning that Hoffman was keeping himself awake for days on end to look believably drained on film, Sir Laurence Olivier quipped: "My dear boy, why don't you try acting? It's much easier."
* PenName: He was created as "Sam Etic" for his appearance on ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', a sly reference to his being Jewish.
* RoleEndingMisdemeanor: There have been many accusations of rape and sexual harassment thrown at Hoffman in recent months. Time will tell if they will end his career.
* StarMakingRole: ''Film/TheGraduate''.
* TrueBeautyIsOnTheInside: Realized this when preparing for ''Film/{{Tootsie}}''. When made-up to look like a woman, Hoffman asked the make up artist to make him look more beautiful. The artist told him that's as good as he was going to look. Looking at himself as a woman he had an epiphany. In an AFI interview in 2002 he tearfully admitted there were too many interesting women he ignored before that moment because they didn't fit the standard of beauty that society had instilled in him.
* TypeCasting: Averted by the sheer volume of different roles he has played. Though starting somewhere post-2000, he started playing a lot of eccentric, quirky mentors/father figures, as seen in films like ''Film/FindingNeverland'', ''Film/IHeartHuckabees'', ''Film/BarneysVersion'', ''Film/StrangerThanFiction'', ''Film/MeetTheFockers'', and ''Film/MrMagoriumsWonderEmporium''. Subverted with ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'', where he's less of a CloudCuckooLander and more stern and bemused by his bombastic pupil.