Richard Beer-Hofmann was born in Vienna, Austria. He was a son of Hermann Beer, an attorney, and Rosa Beer. Till 1880, when the family moved to Vienna, Richard lived in Brno, Czech Republic. His mother died after his birth and in 1884, he was adopted and raised until the age of fourteen by his uncle and his aunt, Berta and Alois Hofmann. That's why the name Hofmann was legally added to his surname.