Legendary actor Dustin Hoffman secretly fights cancer and wins, here’s his story

No stranger to disguise, Dustin Hoffman – who 30 years ago dressed in drag for Tootsie – cloaked himself in secrecy to hide an unforgiving disease that almost claimed his life.

In 2013, the Rain Man actor – 75 at the time – revealed he secretly underwent treatment for throat cancer, which was “surgically cured,” but he never spoke of it again.

Keep reading to learn more about the Oscar-winning actor’s journey with cancer.

In 1967, a 30-year-old Dustin Hoffman had his breakthrough role in the romantic comedy The Graduate, a film that earned the actor his first Oscar nomination.

Over the next several years, Hoffman appeared in classic films like All the President’s Men (1976) and 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer, where he took home an Academy Award for Best Actor.

In 1983, the California-born man then starred in the film Tootsie, where he played a dried-up actor who dresses up as a woman to land a role on a soap opera.

The hit film, where in drag he was being called a “nottie” instead of a “hottie,” brought him to tears, he said.

“If I was going to be a woman, I would want to be as beautiful as possible, and they said to me, ‘That’s as good as it gets.’ Uh, that’s as beautiful as we can get you,” Hoffman recalled in an interview.

When he heard that he wasn’t very pretty, the now 86-year-old man had an epiphany, forever changing how he treats women.

“I went home and started crying,” Hoffman says. “I think I’m an interesting woman, when I look at myself on-screen, and I know that if I met myself at a party I would never talk to that character because she doesn’t fulfill, physically, the demands that we’re brought up to think women have to have in order for us to ask them out.”

Though the comedy was the second highest grossing film of that year – E.T. The Extraterrestrial landed the top spot – Hoffman didn’t think it was funny.

He adds: “…that was never a comedy for me.”

But Hoffman became one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actors.

Earning his second Oscar for the 1988 film Rain Man, he then went onto collect six Golden Globes and one Primetime Emmy.

‘Detected early’

In 2013, the man – who’s very active in his career – fell quiet.

Only a few months after Hoffman’s directorial debut of the British comedy Quartet (2012), and shortly after wrapping production of Chef (2014), where he co-starred alongside Jon Favreau and Sofia Vergara, his representative let the world know why the beloved was in hiding.

Revealing little information, publicist Jodi Gottlieb told People (through ABC News) the star was successfully treated for cancer, which he had kept private.

“It was detected early, and he has been surgically cured,” Gottlieb said. “Dustin is feeling great and is in good health.”

According to reports, the Tony Award nominee, who at the time was 75, would continue preventative treatments to minimize the chance of recurrence in the future. Though Gottlieb did not elaborate on what type of cancer, it’s been suggested he had throat cancer.

‘Looked years younger than 86’

Serving as a reminder of resilience, the Meet the Fockers didn’t slow down after the devastating news was shared more than one decade ago.

Since, he’s loaned his voice to Master Shifu in two more installments of the Kung Fu Panda franchise (2008 to 2024), and co-starred in several other films, including Sam and Kate in 2022 and the 2024 sci-fi drama Megalopolis, which features an ensemble cast.

In early March, 2024, Hello! reports that Hoffman and his wife Lisa Gottsegen – whom he married in 1980 – were spotted strolling through London together, sharing some sweet public displays of affection.

Hoffman married Gottsegen added four children to his brood of two that he started with his ex-wife Anne Byrne.

The outlet writes, “The Hollywood legend looked years younger than 86 as he smiled and waved at the cameras. He was tanned and carefree as he strolled through the city and ducked into boutiques with his wife of 43 years.“

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