Bob Hoskins

Bob Hoskins

Birth name: Robert William Hoskins
Born: October 26, 1942
Died: April 29, 2014 (at age 71)
Birthplace: Bury St Edmunds, West Suffolk, England

Robert William Hoskins (26 October 1942 - 29 April 2014) was an English actor.[1] His work included lead roles in Pennies from Heaven (1978), The Long Good Friday (1980), Mona Lisa (1986), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Mermaids (1990), and Super Mario Bros. (1993), and supporting performances in Brazil (1985), Hook (1991), Nixon (1995), Enemy at the Gates (2001), Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005), A Christmas Carol (2009), Made in Dagenham (2010), and Snow White and the Huntsman (2012). He also directed two feature films.

Hoskins received the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival, the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama for his role in Mona Lisa. He was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for the same role. In 2009, Hoskins won an International Emmy Award for Best Actor for his appearance on the BBC One drama The Street. In 2012, Hoskins retired from acting due to his battle with Parkinson's disease, and he died from pneumonia on 29 April 2014, at age 71.

Hoskins was born in Bury St Edmunds, West Suffolk, on 26 October 1942 to Robert Hoskins, a bookkeeper and lorry driver, and Elsie (née Hopkins) Hoskins, a cook and nursery school teacher.[2][3] His grandmother was Romani.[4] From two weeks old, he was brought up in Finsbury Park, London.[5] He attended Stroud Green Secondary School; however, his dyslexia meant he was written off as stupid:[6] he left school at the age of 15 with a single O-Level and worked as a porter, lorry driver, plumber and window cleaner. He started on a 3-year accountancy course but dropped out.[7][8] He spent half a year in Israel on a kibbutz, and two years in Syria tending the camels of a Bedouin tribe.[8]


Hoskins filming Ruby Blue in 2007

In 1968, Hoskins' acting career began at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, in which he portrayed a servant named Peter in a production of Romeo and Juliet.[9] A year later in 1969, while waiting for his friend, actor Robert Frost, within the bar at the Unity Theatre in London, England, Hoskins found himself being auditioned for a part in a play at the theatre, after being handed a script and told "You're next.".[10] His audition proved a success, leading to Frost becoming his understudy. Frost considered Hoskins to be "a natural", recalling that "He just got up on stage and was brilliant."[11]

Hoskins' first major television role was in On the Move (1975-6),[12] an educational drama series directed by Barbara Derkow intended to tackle adult illiteracy, in which he portrayed the character of Alf Hunt, a removal man who had problems reading and writing. According to eventual producer George Auckland, up to 17 million people watched the series.[13] His breakthrough in television came later in the original BBC version of Dennis Potter's innovative 6-part fantasy-drama Pennies from Heaven (1978), in which he portrayed adulterous sheet music salesman Arthur Parker. After the drama's conclusion, he went on to portray Iago in Jonathan Miller's BBC Television Shakespeare production of Othello.[14] In 1983, Hoskins' voice was used in an advert for Weetabix and during the late 1980s and early 1990s, he appeared in advertising for the recently privatized companies of British Gas and British Telecom (now BT Group).[15][16] Other works in television, made by the BBC, included Flickers, portraying Wilkins Micawber in David Copperfield (1999), and The Wind in the Willows (2006).

Hoskins is more recognised for his cinematic performances. British films, such as The Long Good Friday (1980) and Mona Lisa (1986), won him the wider approval of critics, with the latter film also winning him a Cannes Award, Best Actor Golden Globe, BAFTA Awards, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Some of Hoskins other works in film included: delivering comic turns in Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985); portraying Smee in Hook (1991) and in Neverland (2011); starring opposite Cher in Mermaids (1990); portraying Nikita Khrushchev as a political commissar in Enemy at the Gates (2001); and playing Uncle Bart, the psychopathic and violent "owner" of Jet Li in Unleashed (aka Danny The Dog). He also received a small role as Pink Floyd's manager in The Wall. Hoskins is noted for directing two films that he also starred in - The Raggedy Rawney (1988) and Rainbow (1996) - and producing Mrs Henderson Presents alongside Norma Heyman, in which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film.[17]

One of Hoskins' highest points in his film career was in 1988, in which he portrayed private investigator Eddie Valiant in the Disney, Touchstone, and Amblin Entertainment live-action/animated family blockbuster, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). Hoskins was not the first choice for the role; Harrison Ford, Bill Murray,[18] and Eddie Murphy were all considered for the part,[19] but film critics agreed that Hoskins was perfect for the role, the most prominent among them being Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.[20] As Hoskins' character interacts and makes physical contact with animated characters in the film, Hoskins was required to take mime training courses in preparation, though he suffered from hallucinations for months, after production on the film had ended.[21][22][23] His performance in the film led to him being nominated for a Golden Globe Award, as well as winning him a British Evening Standard Award.

When there were concerns over whether Robert De Niro would portray the character of Al Capone in The Untouchables, Hoskins was slated to be a last-minute replacement in the event that De Niro refused the role. When this didn't happen, director Brian De Palma mailed Hoskins a cheque for £20,000 with a "Thank You" note, which prompted him to call up De Palma and ask him if there were any more films he did not want him to be in.[24] One of Hoskins' worst experiences in his career was his portrayal of Mario in Super Mario Bros. (1993). In an interview he had with The Guardian in 2007, Hoskins stated that he regretted starring in the film, revealing that he was extremely unhappy with the film and greatly angered by his experiences making it, referring to it as the "worst thing I ever did".[3] He was injured several times on set, spent most of the time with co-star John Leguizamo getting drunk to escape boredom, and had no idea the film was based upon a video game until his son told him.[8]

In 2007, Hoskins appeared in the music video for Jamie T's single "Sheila". [25] In 2009, he made a return to television in Jimmy McGovern's drama serial The Street, where he played a publican who opposes a local gangster. For this role, he received his only Emmy when he won Best Actor at the 2010 International Emmys. In 2011, In Search of La Che featured a character named Wermit and every line of his dialogue was a quote of Bob Hoskins.[26]

On 8 August 2012, Hoskins announced his retirement from acting after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011.[27]

Personal life

In 1967, aged 25, Hoskins spent a short period of time volunteering in kibbutz Zikim in Israel, and also herded camels in Syria.[28][29][30] When asked in an interview which living person he most despised, Hoskins named Tony Blair and said that "he's done even more damage than Thatcher". He despised Blair to the point that he decided in 2010, for the first time in his life, not to vote for Labour, by then led by Gordon Brown.[31][32] He made light of his similarities with film actor Danny DeVito, whom he joked would play him in a film about his life.[33]

With his first wife Jane Livesey, Hoskins had two children named Alex (born 1968) and Sarah (born 1972). With his second wife Linda Banwell, he had two more children named Rosa (born c. 1983) and Jack (born c. 1986).[34]

Illness and death

In August 2012, Hoskins retired from acting after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011.[35]

On 29 April 2014, he died of pneumonia at a hospital in London, England at age 71.[1][36] He is survived by his second wife Linda Banwell and his four children.[37]

After his death, Robert Zemeckis, the director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, said that Hoskins brought enjoyment to audiences worldwide.[37] Among the actors who paid tribute at his funeral were Stephen Fry, Samuel L. Jackson, and Helen Mirren, who said that "London will miss one of her best and most loving sons".[14][38]



Year Title Role Notes
1972 Up the Front Recruiting sergeant
1973 The National Health Foster
1975 Royal Flash Police Constable
Inserts Big Mac
1979 Zulu Dawn CSM Williams
1980 The Long Good Friday Harold Shand Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1982 Pink Floyd The Wall Band manager
1983 The Honorary Consul Colonel Perez Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1984 Lassiter Inspector John Becker
The Cotton Club Owney Madden
1985 The Woman Who Married Clark Gable George
The Dunera Boys Morrie Mendellsohn
Brazil Spoor
1986 Sweet Liberty Stanley Gould
Mona Lisa George BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Cannes Film Festival: Best Actor
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
London Film Critics Circle Award for Actor of the Year
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Valladolid International Film Festival: Best Actor
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actor
1987 A Prayer for the Dying Father Michael Da Costa
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne James Madden Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit Eddie Valiant Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Actor
The Raggedy Rawney Darky Also director
1990 Heart Condition Jack Moony
Mermaids Lou Landsky
1991 The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish Louis Aubinard
Shattered Gus Klein
Hook Smee
The Inner Circle Lavrentiy Beria
1992 Passed Away Johnny Scanlan
Blue Ice Sam Garcia
1993 Super Mario Bros. Mario Mario
The Big Freeze Sidney
1995 Nixon J. Edgar Hoover Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Balto Boris Voice
1996 Rainbow Frank Bailey Also director
The Secret Agent Verloc
Michael Vartan Malt
1997 Twenty Four Seven Alan Darcy European Film Award for Best Actor
Spice World Ginger Spice's disguise Cameo
1998 Cousin Bette Cesar Crevel
1999 Parting Shots Gerd Layton
Captain Jack Jack Armistead
Felicia's Journey Hilditch Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
A Room for Romeo Brass Steven Laws
The White River Kid Brother Edgar
2000 American Virgin Joey
2001 Enemy at the Gates Nikita Khrushchev
Last Orders Ray "Raysie" Johnson National Board of Review Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble
Nominated - European Film Award for Best Actor
2002 Where Eskimos Live Sharkey
Maid in Manhattan Lionel Bloch
2003 The Sleeping Dictionary Henry DVD Exclusive Award for Best Supporting Actor in a DVD Premiere Movie
Den of Lions Darius Paskevic
2004 Vanity Fair Sir Pitt Crawley
Beyond the Sea Charlie Maffia
2005 Unleashed Bart
Son of the Mask Odin Nominated - Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor[39]
Mrs Henderson Presents Vivian Van Damm National Board of Review Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble
Nominated - British Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated - St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Stay Dr. Leon Patterson
2006 Paris, je t'aime Bob Leander Segment: "Pigalle"
The Wind in the Willows Badger
Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Winston Voice
Hollywoodland Eddie Mannix
2007 Sparkle Vince
Outlaw Walter Lewis
Ruby Blue Jack Oxford International Film Festival - Best Actor
Go Go Tales The Baron
2008 Doomsday Bill Nelson
2009 A Christmas Carol Mr. Fezziwig / Old Joe Motion capture
2010 Made in Dagenham Albert Nominated - British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor
2011 Will Davey
2012 Outside Bet Percy "Smudge" Smith
2012 Snow White and the Huntsman Muir


Year Title Role Notes
1972 Villains Charles Grindley 3 episode
Play for Today Taxi driver Episode: "The Bankrupt"
1973 Crown Court Freddie Dean 3 episodes
New Scotland Yard Eddie Wharton Episode: "Weight of Evidence"
Softly, Softly: Taskforce Parker Episode: "Outrage"
Play for Today Woodbine Episode: "Her Majesty's Pleasure"
1974 Shoulder to Shoulder Jack Dunn Episode: "Outrage"
Thick as Thieves Dobbs 8 episodes
Play for Today Blake Episode: "Schmoedipus"
1975 On the Move Alf 2 years, 100 episodes
1976 Thriller Sammy Draper Episode: "Cry Terror"
The Crezz Detective Sergeant Marble Episode: "A Flash of Inspiration"
1977 Van der Valk Johnny Palmer Episode: "Dead on Arrival"
Rock Follies of '77 Johnny Britten Episode: "The Real Life"
1978 Pennies from Heaven Arthur Parker 6 episodes
Nominated - BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor
1979 Of Mycenae and Men Mr. Taramasalatopoulos Television short
1980 Flickers Arnie Cole 6 episodes
1981 Othello Iago Television film
1983 The Beggar's Opera Beggar Television film
1985 Mussolini and I Benito Mussolini 4 episodes
1985 The Dunera Boys Morrie Mendellsohn 2 episodes
1994 The Changeling De Flores Television film
World War II: When Lions Roared Winston Churchill Television film
1995-1999 The Forgotten Toys Teddy Voice
26 episodes
1996 Tales from the Crypt Redmond Episode: "Fatal Caper"
1999 David Copperfield Wilkins Micawber 2 episodes
2000 Noriega: God's Favorite Manuel Noriega Television film
Nominated - Satellite Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film
Don Quixote Sancho Panza Television film
2001 The Lost World Professor George Challenger Television film
2003 Frasier Coach Fuller Episode: "Trophy Girlfriend"
The Good Pope: Pope John XXIII Angelo Roncalli/Pope John XXIII Television film
2008 The Englishman's Boy Damon Ira Chance 2 episodes
Pinocchio Geppetto Television film
The Last Word Monologues unnamed hitman Episode: "A Bit of Private Business"
2009 The Street Paddy Gargan 2 episodes
International Emmy Award for Best Actor
2011 Neverland Smee 2 episodes

Bob Hoskins supports the following charitable cause: Peace.

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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