Philip Seymour Hoffman

"Doubt" New York Premiere - Arrivals

Hoffman in 2008, photo by Prphotos

Date of Birth: July 23, 1967

Place of Birth: Fairport, New York, U.S.

Date of Death: February 2, 2014

Place of Death: West Village, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Ethnicity: Irish, English, German, Dutch, as well as 1/1024th Polish

Philip Seymour Hoffman was an American actor, director, and producer. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Capote (2005). He also had noted roles in Boogie Nights, Almost Famous, The Savages, and A Most Wanted Man, among many other films, and stage roles.

He was the son of Marilyn O’Connor (née Loucks), a lawyer and family court judge, and Gordon Stowell Hoffman, who worked for Xerox. His brother, Gordy Hoffman, is a screenwriter and director. Philip had three children, including actor Cooper Hoffman, with his partner, costume designer Mimi O’Donnell.

Philip’s paternal grandfather was Gordon Orville Hoffman (the son of Orville Hoffman and Fannie M. Phillips). Philip’s grandfather Gordon was born in New York. Philip’s great-grandfather Orville was born in New York, to German immigrant parents, Johann Adam Hoffman and Barbara Kleinhans. Fannie was the daughter of John E. Phillips and Abbey/Abbie Hapeman.

Philip’s paternal grandmother Geraldine J. Stowell (the daughter of Charles Henry Stowell and Lulu Grant Humes). Geraldine was born in New York, and her ancestry included English and Dutch. Through Gerladine, Philip was also descended from a Polish immigrant named Albrecht Zabriskie, which means that Philip had 1/1024 Polish ancestry. Charles was the son of Charles N. V. Stowell and Lola Mildred Parmenter. Lulu was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson Humes and Augusta Margaret Harrison.

Philip’s maternal grandfather was Seymour N. Loucks (the son of Avery Moses Loucks and Nellie E. Darling). Philip’s grandfather Seymour was born in New York. The Loucks family in New York appears to originate with either Dutch or German immigrants. Philip’s maternal grandfather also had English ancestry. Avery was the son of Moses Avery Loucks and Mary Ellen Laub. Nellie was the daughter of Frank Darling and Jennie/Jane A. Finch.

Philip’s maternal grandmother was Helen Louise O’Conner/O’Connor (the daughter of Patrick T. O’Conner/O’Connor and Anna McNicholas). Helen was born in New York. Patrick and Anna were both Irish immigrants. Patrick was the son of Thomas O’Connor and Bridget Lavell. Anna was the daughter of Patrick McNicholas and Mary O’Brien.

Sources: Genealogy of Philip Seymour Hoffman –

Genealogy of Philip Seymour Hoffman (focusing on his father’s side) –

Philip’s paternal grandfather, Gordon Orville Hoffman, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Philip’s paternal great-grandfather, Orville Hoffman, on the 1880 U.S. Census –

Philip’s paternal grandmother, Geraldine J. Stowell, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Philip’s maternal grandmother, Helen Louise O’Conner/O’Connor, on the 1920 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

6 Responses

  1. Preservationist says:

    But was he Protestant? Since you don’t say he was “Catholic” (as you put it), I suspect he was.

  2. Freerk says:

    “Loucks” looks like a Dutch name (“ou” doesn’t appear in German but often in Dutch names, “ck” usually wouldn’t appear in German after a diphthong (though a number of exceptions), but in Dutch; “-s” is a Dutch/Frisian/Northern German morpheme meaning “son of (Louck)” resp. the genitive ending – “of Louck”); the German version being Lau(c)ks(en)); in 2008 there were about 5 people in Germany with Loucks, 61 with Laucks, 261 with Lauks, 634 with Lauk, 1114 with Lauck. Not so often; but, of course, the spelling could have been anglicized.

  3. guyinsf says:

    1/1024 Polish? LOL

  4. Alice says:

    Very sad. An amazing talent but a tortured soul. A lot of actors especially hugely talented ones like Seymour appear to have a problem with depression. He was brilliant in Capote and deserved his Best Actor Oscar for the role.

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