Philip Baker Hall, a veteran actor who appeared in everything from “Seinfeld” to multiple Paul Thomas Anderson films such as “Magnolia” and “Boogie Nights,” has died at the age of 90, according to his neighbor Sam Farmer.
Farmer, a sportswriter for the Los Angeles Times tweeted, “My neighbor, friend, and one of the wisest, most talented, and kindest people I’ve ever met, Philip Baker Hall, died peacefully last night. He was surrounded by loved ones. The world has an empty space in it.”
My neighbor, friend, and one of the wisest, most talented and kindest people I’ve ever met, Philip Baker Hall, died peacefully last night. He was surrounded by loved ones. The world has an empty space in it. pic.twitter.com/pBCaILjHPT
— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) June 13, 2022
The Washington Post reported in 2017 that Hall died of emphysema and was reliant on an oxygen tank, despite the fact that his cause of death was not disclosed.
In a classic 1991 episode, Hall played a haranguing librarian who accused Jerry Seinfeld of not returning a long-overdue library book.
The great Philip Baker Hall will forever be remembered by Seinfeld fans as the hard-nosed library detective, Mr. Bookman. Hall had a long and impressive career as one of Hollywood’s top character actors. His talent will be cherished. pic.twitter.com/1x5mLyvro3
— Seinfeld (@SeinfeldTV) June 14, 2022
Hall also appeared in The Truman Show, Rush Hour, Magnolia, and Boogie Nights, all directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.
Hall had nearly 200 film and television credits, his work varies from searing parts with filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson to practically every television show you care to mention, thanks to his basset-hound face and miles-of-hard-road voice.
But it was his brief appearance on “Seinfeld” more than 30 years ago, delivered with gravel-voiced seriousness, that cemented Hall’s place in our collective humorous memory. Every phrase lands like a slap in the face. It’s Hall’s farcical show.
He played a CIA detective in Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning movie Argo and also had roles in Lars von Trier’s Dogville, Bruce Almighty, and The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Other TV credits included Modern Family – playing grumpy neighbor Walter – The West Wing and Curb Your Enthusiasm.