After attending the Pasadena Playhouse, Hoffman decided to move to New York and looked up former Playhouse classmate Gene Hackman. The two of them roomed together in New York at Hackman's one-bedroom apartment on 2nd Ave. and 26th St. Hoffman slept on the kitchen floor. Originally Hackman had offered to let him stay a few nights, but Hoffman would not leave. Hackman had to take him out to look for his own apartment.
Another thespian he roomed with in New York was Robert Duvall.
April 2005: Recipient of a Lincoln Center tribute.
As of 2008, he and Philip Seymour Hoffman are the only two winners of best actor in a leading role at the Oscars to share a last name. Philip won for Capote (2005) and Dustin won for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Rain Man (1988).
As of 2010, Marlon Brando and he are the only actors to win two Oscars for leading roles in pictures that earned Oscars for best pictures: Brando won for his performances in On the Waterfront (1954) and The Godfather (1972) and Hoffman won for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Rain Man (1988).
As roommates, Hoffman and Gene Hackman would often go to the apartment rooftop and play the drums. Hoffman played the bongo drums while Hackman played the conga drums. They did it out of their love for Marlon Brando, who they had heard played music in clubs. They wanted to be like Brando and were big fans of his.
Both he and Robert Duvall said one of the best reasons why they went to acting classes were the girls. When they were young, the classes were a gold mine to them.
Both Hoffman and his former roommate, Gene Hackman, had their big breaks in 1967. Hoffman in The Graduate (1967) and Hackman in Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
Brother-in-law of producer Lee Gottsegen.
Despite being old friends and roommates with Gene Hackman back in the 1960s, it was literally decades before he appeared on screen with him. He finally starred with Hackman in Runaway Jury (2003).
Did a brief stint while he was a struggling actor working at the toys' department at Macy's. As a joke, he set Gene Hackman's toddler son up on a display and tried to pass him off as a large doll, until a woman offered to buy him.
During the filming of Wag the Dog (1997) Hoffman, his co-star Robert De Niro and director Barry Levinson had an impromptu meeting with President Bill Clinton at a Washington hotel. "So what's this movie about?" Clinton asked De Niro. De Niro looked over to Levinson, hoping he would answer the question. Levinson, in turn, looked over to Hoffman. Hoffman, realizing there was no one else to pass the buck to, is quoted as saying, "So I just started to tap dance. I can't even remember what I said."
Entered into The Guinness Book of World Records as "Greatest Age Span Portrayed By A Movie Actor" for Little Big Man (1970) in which he portrayed a character from age 17 to age 121.
Friday, March 6th, 1970, he and wife Anne Byrne Hoffman were living in a brownstone on 11th St. in New York City's Greenwich Village when the house next door blew up. Fortunately, he and his family weren't home. Members of the radical 1960's domestic terror group, that called themselves "The Weathermen" were living in that house unknown to anyone and had stored a large cache of explosives that accidentally detonated, killing three of the group's members. Henry Fonda's ex-wife, Susan Wager, was also a neighbor in that block and witnessed the explosion, as it occurred.
Had expressed an early desire to play the title role in Gandhi (1982), but was offered Tootsie (1982) the same year and ended up taking the latter role. He eventually lost the Oscar that year to Ben Kingsley who played Gandhi.
Has 6 children: Jenna Byrne and Karina Hoffman-Birkhead (born 1966 - adopted) with his first wife Anne Byrne Hoffman; Jake Hoffman, Rebecca Hoffman, Max Hoffman and Alexandra Hoffman with his second wife Lisa Gottsegen.
Has a house in the Kensington area of London.
Has appeared in two films about "Peter Pan" (Hook (1991) and Finding Neverland (2004)). Following his appearance in ""Hook", close friend and former roommate Gene Hackman began calling him "Hook" as a joke. The name stuck and his contemporaries call him by that nickname to this day.
Has known Gene Hackman since 1956.