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Home / Boogie Nights

Veteran actor Philip Baker Hall dies at age 90

Veteran stage, film and TV character actor Philip Baker Hall — who was featured in several Paul Thomas Anderson movies and memorably played a no-nonsense library cop on “Seinfeld,” chasing down overdue books with a ferocity usually reserved for felons — has died at age 90, it was announced Monday.

“My neighbor, friend, and one of the wisest, most talented and kindest people I’ve ever met, Philip Baker Hall, died peacefully last night. He was surrounded by loved ones. The world has an empty space in it,” Los Angeles Times sports reporter Sam Farmer wrote on Twitter on Monday in announcing Hall’s death.

A cause of death was not given.

Hall’s wife of nearly 40 years, Holly Wolfle Hall, said the actor, who had been well until a few weeks ago, died in Glendale on Sunday surrounded by loved ones, according to reports.

Hall was born Sept. 10, 1931, in Toledo, Ohio, and did not start acting until he was 30 years old — appearing, uncredited, as a diner owner in a 1970 film called “Zabriskie Point.”

After that, he chalked up 185 credits, most recently in the Netflix series “Messiah,” according to IMDB.

Hall, with a basset hound face and gruff voice, first worked with Anderson in a 1993 short film called “Cigarettes and Coffee,” playing a gambler. The director expanded that role in the 1996 feature “Hard Eight,” and Hall’s career took off. He also appeared in Anderson’s 1997 “Boogie Nights” and 1999 “Magnolia.”

Hall also played a starring role, as Richard Nixon, in the 1984 Robert Altman film “Secret Honor.” Other notable film credits included “The Truman Show,” “Argo,” “The Insider,” the 1998 “Psycho” remake and “Air Force One.”

In a memorable 1991 episode of “Seinfeld,” Hall played Lt. Joe Bookman, a hard-nosed, noir-style “library cop” who pursues Jerry Seinfeld for a long-overdue copy of  “Tropic of Cancer.”

“I got a flash for ya, joy-boy — party time is over,” Hall’s deadpan Lt. Bookman tells the scofflaw Seinfeld character.

Hall reprised the role in the 1998 “Seinfeld” finale.

“Philip has made me laugh harder than any actor I’ve worked with,” Seinfeld co-creator Larry David told The Washington Post in 2017.

Comedian Michael McKean tweeted Monday, “Never not good. RIP, Philip Baker Hall.”

Other TV credits on Hall’s resume included “Madame Secretary,” “The Newsroom,” “Modern Family,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Psych,” “Monk,” “M*A*S*H” and “The West Wing.”

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