Mimi O’Donnell was the longtime girlfriend of Philip Seymour Hoffman. The couple had been together for 14 years but had split just before Hoffman’s death on February 2 in New York City. When the Oscar-winning actor didn’t show up to pick up his kids at 9 a.m., O’Donnell raised the alarm, calling friends. About two hours later, Hoffman’s dead body was found by his friend David Katz.
Here’s what you need to know about the love of Hoffman’s life:
1. They Met Working on a Play Together
The couple met on a play, In Arabia We’d All Be Kings, that Hoffman was directing in New York in 1999. The couple later worked together in 2000, working on another Hoffman-directed play, Jesus Hopped the A Train. She said of her time working in theater:
I guess I have a tendency to work with mostly new plays, which I like because it’s all brand-new ideas. I realized that’s where my answers are; if I have any doubts about what they’re going to wear, I just go sit in rehearsal for a while and it comes to me.
2. She Worked in the Costume Department at Saturday Night Live
She is a popular and famous costume designer, renowned for her work on the stage and in T.V., including on Saturday Night Live. In April 2013, she was named as the artistic director of the Labyrinth theater. She said upon her appointment:
Personally, I’m honored to be able to expand upon the work we’ve done and am very excited to guide our extraordinary ensemble and vibrant institution into a new period of sustained growth. Labyrinth has been, and always will be, a vital source for New York City audiences to engage with diverse new plays, and I look forward to carrying on that important tradition in the years to come.
We get the scripts on Wednesday night, then we have three days to get it together,” O’Donnell says of the hectic SNL pace. You definitely hit the ground running on Thursday morning, and throughout the next couple of days, they’re rewriting and recasting, so where it was five people in a sketch, suddenly it’s 20. When 11:30 comes around and they say, ‘Live from New York,’ there’s definitely a buzz in the air.
But she added that the 20 week schedule allowed her to work on different theater projects. In 2011, O’Donnell was nominated for a Tony Award for the production of The Motherfucker With the Hat.
3. They Had 3 Kids
— DanRiehl (@DanRiehl) February 2, 2014
They had three children together, a son, Cooper Alexander, born in March 2003, and two daughters, Tallulah, born November 2006, and Willa, born in October 2008.
4. They Had Split Up in the Last Few Months
One neighbor told reporters that Hoffman had not looked well in the weeks leading up to his death. The unidentified neighbor said, “He did not look well recently – like he was out of it. I think and his woman friend were off and on. He lived down here for a long time and was well liked, but everyone knew he had substance-abuse problems.”
It’s reported that Hoffman had been due to pick up his kids at 9 a.m. on February 3, when he failed to show, O’Donnell became worried and told friends. This led to Hoffman’s friend David Katz discovering his body at around 11 a.m. Apparently Hoffman had a needle in his arm.
5. She’s From Philly
She’s originally from Philadelphia. Prior to entering into the costume design, she studied to become a teacher but she discontinued that to enter the Philadelphia College of Textile and Sciences. After graduating, she went to work in costume design in Massachusetts. From there, she returned to Philadelphia work at the Arden Theater and Walnut Street Theater. Eventually, she made it to New York in 1999, where she met Phillip Seymour Hoffman.