Actor Dustin Hoffman has apologised and said he has the "utmost respect for women" following allegations against him of sexually inappropriate behaviour during the filming of his 1985 film Death of a Salesman.

Author Anna Graham Hunter, who was 17 when she interned as a production assistant at a film studio in New York, made the allegations against Hoffman in a piece in US trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter.

She claimed that the actor, who was in his late forties at the time, demanded he give her a foot rub and made sexually explicit comments.

Two-time Oscar-winner Hoffman said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter: "I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation.

"I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am."

Hunter, now 49, shared a diary of her time working on the film in a guest column published in The Hollywood Reporter.

Introducing her account of her experiences on the set of Death of a Salesman, she wrote: "Dustin Hoffman sexually harassed me when I was 17.

"He asked me to give him a foot massage my first day on set; I did. He was openly flirtatious, he grabbed my ass, he talked about sex to me and in front of me."

She also claimed that he had asked her intrusive questions about her sex life and made a comment that she said was "so gross" she could not repeat it.

Looking back on her experience on the set, Hunter explained that she had mixed feelings about the alleged incidents involving Hoffman, but she wrote: "He was a predator, I was a child, and this was sexual harassment."