The Graduate star admits he was a fool when he was younger and often passed on good projects because he didn't think he deserved the success the films would likely bring.

In addition to turning down work with Allen, Fellini, and Bergman, Hoffman also rejected leading roles in Spielberg's 1977 alien film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the director's Oscar-winning 1993 drama Schindler's List, a part picked up by Liam Neeson.

Asked if he has any regrets about his career, Hoffman told U.S. breakfast show Today, "Oh my God, yes. I turned down maybe more brilliant things and more great directors probably than any other actor I know.

"The first one (was) Close Encounters. I read it and when I finished, I said, 'That's the best script I ever read and I'm not gonna do it'.

"I think I had a problem with success. I turned down Woody Allen down for a time; I turned Schindler's List down; I turned Fellini down; I turned Bergman down..."

The 78-year-old went on to admit if he could, he would "go back and live the last 40 years differently", but Hoffman insists he is finally comfortable with where he is in his career.

"The good news is I feel fresh now," he continued. "I feel reborn now, in a sense, because I finally have a sense of myself, my priorities; it doesn't embarrass me to do good (sic)..."

"I wasn't afraid of being a star; (I felt) I did not deserve it," he added. "We're not special. I mean, there is such a thing as a gift... I have a gift, but the chance to bring your gift into the same aperture, if that's the right word, to marry them in your life, you need a lot of luck to do that."

Hoffman eventually got the chance to work with Spielberg later in life, in 1991 Peter Pan fantasy Hook.