Belfast Telegraph

Dustin recalls audition trauma

Dustin Hoffman was "frightened out of his wits" when he tried out for a New York actors organisation.

The legendary Hollywood star has won many awards for his contribution to the film world, with three BAFTAs and two Oscars under his belt.

He moved to New York with a dream to join the famous membership organisation for professional actors, theatre directors and playwrights. But, despite the hard work, his efforts didn't pay off.

"I wasn't part of the Actors Studio, but I tried out for it five times. You had to get past the first judges, which I didn't – most didn't – and then be able to go back for a second round. And then I think, after that, [actor and acting coach] Lee Strasberg himself judged you," he told British newspaper The Telegraph. "I never could get past the first judges. It was an awful experience. Because auditions were kind of in the round, very dark, and you were just frightened out of your wits."

He did join classes taught by Lee though and got into theatre, recalling a sense of "dignity" among fellow amateurs.

Dustin lived in an apartment with Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall, with all three of them trying to make into the limelight. Eventually they all found fame, with Dustin making a name for himself in 1967's The Graduate.

It's not just acting which has made him successful though.

"I've been writing all along. I just have never taken credit for it – stupidly. I think now I'll take credit," Dustin explained.

"Well, I co-wrote Kramer vs. Kramer with the writer–director [Robert Benton]. When we were done he said: 'I want to give you a writing credit.' I said, 'No, no, Bob, that's alright'. That was always my position. It got the Academy Award – for a few things, but one of them was writing. Another one was Tootsie: my friend and I co-wrote the early drafts. He took credit. I didn't want to. Rain Man was another one."

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