Vale: Philip Baker Hall

US character actor, best known for Seinfeld, Modern Family and Magnolia, has died.

US character actor Philip Baker Hall, best known for Seinfeld, Modern Family and Magnolia, has died aged 90.

He died on Sunday surrounded by loved ones in California.

Holly Wolfle Hall, the actor’s wife of nearly 40 years, said “His voice at the end was still just as powerful.”

Los Angeles Times sports writer Sam Farmer announced his passing on Twitter.

In 1991 Hall played Lieutenant Joe Bookman, the library investigator who comes after Seinfeld for a years-overdue copy of Tropic of Cancer, telling Seinfeld: “Well, I got a flash for ya, Joy-boy: Party time is over.”

He was brought back for the Seinfeld finale and by Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm. He played neighbour Walt Kleezak on Modern Family.

Hall initially devoted himself more to theatre than TV and movies but a Paul Thomas Anderson short film Cigarettes & Coffee changed all that.

Its success led to his feature debut, 1997’s Hard Eight, which catapulted Hall’s career. He played adult film theatre magnate Floyd Gondolli in Boogie Nights, with other credits Magnolia, The Insider, Dogville, Say Anything, The Truman Show, The Talented Mr Ripley, Zodiac, Argo and Rush Hour.

Other TV credits included Good Times, “M*A*S*H, Man From Atlantis, The West Wing, Cheers, Madam Secretary, Monk, Boston Legal and Rake (US).

His final credit was Netflix drama Messiah written by Aussie Michael Petron in 2020.

Source: ABC

6 Responses

  1. RIP Philip Baker Hall. His performance on Seinfeld 30 years ago was wonderful.. Over the years I have seen other performances. But this one is a gem in TV comedy history.

  2. Very sad to hear of the death of Phillip Baker Hall. I loved his character Mr. Bookman the Library Investigator in that episode of Seinfeld about the overdue library book. My absolute favourite episode. RIP.

  3. His performance in the West Wing also powerful. Sad loss but based on the various performances I saw of him on screen, a well lived one professionally.

    1. His guest spots on Curb Your Enthusiasm with Larry David were hilarious. Larry coming up against the uptight doctor (Philip Baker Hall) was just golden. I think it was the series that Larry took part in a production of The Producers. And a bitter sweet set of episodes on Modern Family. He was always a scene stealer.

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