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Actor Philip Baker Hall dies at 90

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Philip Baker Hall, the veteran actor who usually played crusty, no-frills roles and was best known for a minor role in Seinfeld, has died aged 90.

His hundreds of film and television credits include Say Anything, Boogie Nights and The Truman Show.

Hall died Sunday in Glendale, Calif., surrounded by loved ones, according to his wife of nearly four decades, Holly Wolfle Hall. She added that he only started feeling ill a few weeks before his death and spent his last days in good spirits and reflecting on his life.

Her voice at the end was still going strong, Wolfle Hall said, adding that her husband never officially gave up acting.

The Toledo, Ohio native started out in theater in Los Angeles and played tiny, often uncredited roles on shows like Good Times and M*A*S*H as he rose through the ranks. By the 1980s, he had made a name for himself by appearing in a series of films directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, including Hard Eight, Boogie Nights and Magnolia.

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From there he appeared everywhere from The Truman Show and The Talented Mr. Ripley to Argo and Bruce Almighty. On the small screen, he starred in The Loop as chief executive of TransAlliance Airways and played the grumpy neighbor in Modern Family, as well as roles in Messiah, The Newsroom and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

But it was his 1991 guest role on Seinfeld that perhaps garnered the most attention. Hall played a dogged detective hunting down Jerry Seinfeld for a 20-year-old late library book.

It’s been over 20 years since we shot this episode, and I still can’t go out in public for very long before someone says, God, it’s Bookman! Or: Are you Bookman? I returned that library book, I swear! Hall said rolling stone in 2014. It’s not just in New York or LA; it happened in a mall in the Midwest or even other countries where they air the show. The guy made a strong impression.

When Seinfeld ended in 1998, Hall returned to the show for its finale.

Los Angeles Times reporter Sam Farmer announced Halls’ death in a Tweeter Writing on Monday, My neighbour, friend and one of the wisest, most talented and kindest people I have ever met, Philip Baker Hall, passed away peacefully last night. He was surrounded by his relatives. The world has an empty space within it.

In addition to his wife, Hall is survived by four daughters, four grandchildren and a brother.

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