The acting veteran landed his breakout role in the 1967 film, playing a college graduate who is seduced by an older woman, and he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, while Mike Nichols went on to win the Best Director prize.

However, the movie's reviews were not all positive, and Hoffman is convinced his Jewish roots turned off some critics.

He tells Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, "As far as I'm concerned, Mike Nichols did a very courageous thing in casting me for a part that I was not right for - meaning that I was Jewish. In fact, many of the reviews were very negative about me. There was kind of veiled anti-Semitism. I was called big-nosed, nasal-voiced. (They) said I was a cretin. And in a sense they were right, because I was not 100 per cent Protestant, as the character was written."