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Prolific character actor Philip Baker Hall dies at 90

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Actor Philip Baker Hall has died at the age of 90, the Associated Press confirms. Holly Wolfle Hall, the actor's wife, told the AP that Hall's "voice at the end was still just as powerful."

Sportswriter Sam Farmer added in a tweet that Hall was "surrounded by loved ones" when he died. "My neighbor, friend, and one of the wisest, most talented and kindest people I've ever met, Philip Baker Hall, died peacefully last night," Farmer wrote in a tweet on Monday. "The world has an empty space in it."

Philip Baker Hall
Philip Baker Hall

L. Cohen/WireImage Prolific character actor Philip Baker Hall, best known for roles in 'Seinfeld' and Paul Thomas Anderson movies, has died at 90.

Hall's many film and TV credits included Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights, Michael Mann's The Insider, and Seinfeld, on which he memorably played the Jerry-harassing library cop Lt. Bookman.

"It's been over 20 years since we shot that episode, and I still can't go out in public for very long before someone says 'My god, it's Bookman!' Or: 'Are you Bookman? I returned that library book, I swear!'" Hall told Rolling Stone in 2014. "It's not just in New York or L.A.; it's happened in a mall in the Midwest or even other countries where they air the show. The guy made an impression."

In fact, when the New York Public Library ended the practice of late fees in 2021, they published a satirical article on their website wishing Bookman a happy retirement.

Seinfeld
Seinfeld

NBC Philip Baker Hall as the indefatigable library cop Lt. Bookman on 'Seinfeld.'

Hall was born in Toledo, Ohio, and worked as a radio announcer and high school teacher before moving to New York and becoming an actor. In the early '80s, he gained recognition for playing Richard Nixon in the one-man show Secret Honor, which was subsequently adapted for the big screen by Robert Altman. A decade later, Hall met a young Paul Thomas Anderson, who had yet to make his first film.

"I was doing a movie for public television, and he was a volunteer production assistant on that film," Hall told The A.V. Club in 2012. "They actually had a program for young writer/filmmaker hopefuls, and he came in to do that, so he could see how it goes on a real movie set and be a part of the process by basically just helping out, carrying the heavy objects or the coffee, whatever. We met on that, and somehow we were drawn together."

Anderson would go on to cast him in a starring role in 1996's Hard Eight, followed by supporting appearances in the ensembles of 1997's Boogie Nights and 1999's Magnolia. Hall's other credits included Say Anything, Rush Hour, the sitcom Modern Family, and director David Fincher's 2007 serial killer film, Zodiac.

Hall is survived by his wife Holly, four children, four grandchildren, and his brother.

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