You Are Special
"Remember if you fall, fall reaching." ~ Dustin Hoffman
For his career-making role as Ivy League student Benjamin Braddock in the film The Graduate (1967), unknown actor Dustin Hoffman (1937-) received $17,000 and applied for unemployment insurance as soon as filming was done.
"Every day is a rebirth," he once said.
With music by Simon and Garfunkel and Anne Bancroft as the memorable seductress Mrs. Robinson, The Graduate satirized the generation gap and sexual revolution of the 60s.
"Don't you find me attractive, Benjamin?" Mrs. Robinson asked in her memorable seduction scene.
"Yes," replied our naive hero, "You are the best-looking of all my parents' friends."
Bancroft was 36 at the time; Hoffman was 30. Actor Charles Grodin was supposed to take the part of Benjamin, but couldn't agree on a salary; Robert Redford turned down the role because he didn't think he could pull off portraying Benjamin's innocence.
Hoffman thought he was completely wrong for the role: too ethnic, too short, and not handsome enough. But director Mike Nichols insisted. About the reaction to Hoffman at the film's first screening, Nichols remembered, "For the last five minutes, the (New York) audience stood and screamed as if they were at a prize fight. They adored him. They identified with him."
Hoffman was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role and went on to play Ratso Ritzo in Midnight Cowboy (1969). He made a bit more money on that outing--$250,000.