Philip Baker Hall, Beloved ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Hard Eight’ Star, Dead at 90

by Samantha Whidden

Philip Baker Hall, who is best known for his roles in the crime film “Hard Eight” and the hit TV show “Seinfeld,” has reportedly passed away at the age of 90. 

Sam Farmer, the NFL writer for the Los Angeles Times, took to Twitter to announce the news about Philip Baker Hall’s passing. “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.”

Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Phillip Baker Hall started his acting career in 1960. He worked for Off-Broadway and Broadway productions In New York City. Early on, the actor made guest appearances on “M*A*S*H” and “Man From Atlantis”. He also played a detective pursuing a long-overdue library book in the “Seinfeld” episodes, “The Library” and “The Finale.”

Along with “Hard Eight,” Phillip Baker Hall also appeared in the following films: “Say Anything…,” “Secret Honor,” “Boodie Night,” “Bruce Almighty,” “In Good Company,” “The Amityville Horror,” and “The Matador.”

The late actor was survived by his wife, Holly Wolfle, and his two daughters Adella and Anna. 

Phillip Baker Hall Opens up About His ‘Seinfeld’ Character Lieutenant Bookman 

During a 2012 interview with AV Club, Phillip Baker Hall reflected on his “Seinfeld” character, Lieutenant Bookman. 

“God, that was over 20 years ago,” Phillip Baker Hall declared about the role. “It’s hard to believe how long ago that was. It’s just so ironic. I mean, every actor has to deal with this, but I’ve played so many roles both in theater and on film—and when I say ‘so many,’ we’re talking a few hundred—but the one that’s most often mentioned with my name is Bookman.”

Phillip Baker Hall also described Bookman as an “identifiable” character. “But the character… he’s a fun character, and I guess kind of an unusual one for TV, but everybody knows Bookman, no doubt about it. I’m not putting it down, but I’ve done so much else. But Bookman is the one that everyone remembers.”

The actor went on to reveal that people recognized him as the “Seinfeld” character. “People will say forever, at the supermarket or wherever, it doesn’t matter where, ‘Oh, you’re Bookman, right? I really loved that Bookman. Now, I know you’ve done a lot of other things, but I loved that Bookman character.’ When they say, ‘I know you’ve done a lot of other things,’ it’s like, ‘You don’t know the half of it!’”

Phillip Baker Hall then added that after Bookman there was no door closed for him in the industry. “My agent would say, ‘Everybody wants to see you. Everybody wants you to be in their movie, everybody wants you to be on their show.’ It was kind of incredible, I have to say.”