Bob Hoskins

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: The Raggedy Rawney (1988) and Rainbow (1996).

Bob Hoskins
Hoskins during the filming of Ruby Blue (2007)
Robert William Hoskins

(1942-10-26)26 October 1942
Died29 April 2014(2014-04-29) (aged 71)
London, England
Years active1968–2012
Jane Livesey
(m. 1967; div. 1978)

Linda Banwell
(m. 1982; his death 2014)

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. Hoskins retired from acting in 2012 due to Parkinson's disease, and died from pneumonia on 29 April 2014, at age 71.

Early life

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 where he was written off as stupid on account of his dyslexia.[6] He left school at 15 with a single O-Level and worked as a porter, lorry driver, plumber and window cleaner. He started but did not complete a 3-year accountancy course.[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' acting career began in 1968 at the Victoria Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent, in a production of Romeo and Juliet in which he portrayed a servant named Peter.[9] A year later, while waiting in the bar at Unity Theatre, London, for his friend the actor Robert Frost, Hoskins found himself being auditioned for a play after being handed a script and told "you're next."[10] His audition was successful and Frost became his understudy. Frost considered Hoskins "a natural", recalling that "he just got up on stage and was brilliant."[11]

His first major television role was in On the Move (1975–1976), an educational drama series directed by Barbara Derkow intended to tackle adult illiteracy.[12] He portrayed the character Alf Hunt, a removal man who had problems reading and writing. According to 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. He went on to play Iago in Jonathan Miller's BBC Television Shakespeare production of Othello (1981).[14] In 1983 Hoskins voiced an advert for Weetabix and during the late 1980s and early 1990s, he appeared in advertising for British Gas and British Telecom (now BT Group).[15][16] Other television work included Flickers, portraying Wilkins Micawber in David Copperfield (1999), and The Wind in the Willows (2006).

British films such as The Long Good Friday (1980) and Mona Lisa (1986) won him the wider approval of critics, the latter film winning him a Cannes Award, Best Actor Golden Globe, BAFTA Awards, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. 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 violent psychopathic "owner" of Jet Li in Unleashed (2005; aka Danny The Dog). He had a small role as the protagonist's rock and roll manager in The Wall (1979), and in 1997 had a cameo as Ginger Spice’s disguise in the Spice Girls film Spice World.[17] He directed two films that he also starred in: The Raggedy Rawney (1988) and Rainbow (1996), and produced Mrs Henderson Presents alongside Norma Heyman, for which he was nominated Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film.[18]

A high point in his career was portraying private investigator Edward "Eddie" Valiant in the live-action/animated family blockbuster Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). Hoskins was not the first choice for the role; Harrison Ford, Bill Murray, and Eddie Murphy were all considered for the part.[19][20] Film critics, among them Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, agreed that Hoskins was perfect for the role.[21] As his character interacts and makes physical contact with animated characters in the film, Hoskins was required to take mime training courses in preparation. He suffered hallucinations for months after production on the film had ended.[22][23][24] He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and won a British Evening Standard Award for his performance.

Hoskins was slated to be the last-minute replacement in case Robert De Niro refused the role of Al Capone in The Untouchables (1987). When De Niro accepted the part, the director Brian De Palma mailed Hoskins a cheque for £20,000 with a "Thank You" note. Hoskins was moved to call the director and ask if there were any more films he wasn't needed for.[25]

He told The Guardian in 2007 that he regretted starring as Mario in Super Mario Bros. (1993), saying that he was extremely unhappy with the film, greatly angered by his experiences making it, and referring to it as the "worst thing I ever did". 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 told so by his son.[8]

In 2007 Hoskins appeared in the music video for Jamie T's single "Sheila". [26] In 2009 he returned to television for Jimmy McGovern's drama serial The Street, playing a publican who opposes a local gangster. For this role he received his only Emmy: Best Actor at the 2010 International Emmys. The 2011 film In Search of La Che features a character, "Wermit", whose every line of dialogue is a quote of Bob Hoskins.[27]

On 8 August 2012 Hoskins announced his retirement from acting having been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011.[28]

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.[29][30][31] 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 hated 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.[32][33] He made light of his similarities with film actor Danny DeVito, whom he joked would play him in a film about his life.[34]

With his first wife Jane Livesey, Hoskins had two children - Alex (born 1968) and Sarah (born 1972). With his second wife Linda Banwell, he had two more children - Rosa (born c. 1983) and Jack (born c. 1986).[35] Hoskins divided his time between Hampstead, London[36] and Chiddingly, East Sussex.[37]

Illness and death

In August 2012, Hoskins retired from acting after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011.[38]

On 29 April 2014, he died of pneumonia at a hospital in London, England at age 71.[1][39] He is survived by his second wife Linda Banwell and his four children.[40]

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][41]



Year Title Role Notes
1972Up the FrontRecruiting sergeant
1973The National HealthFoster
1975Royal FlashPolice Constable
InsertsBig Mac
1979Zulu DawnCSM Williams
1980The Long Good FridayHarold ShandEvening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1982Pink Floyd The WallBand manager
1983The Honorary ConsulColonel PerezNominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1984LassiterInspector John Becker
The Cotton ClubOwney Madden
1985The Woman Who Married Clark GableGeorge
The Dunera BoysMorrie Mendellsohn
1986Sweet LibertyStanley Gould
Mona LisaGeorgeBAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Cannes Film Festival: Best Actor (tied with Michel Blanc in Ménage)
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 (tied with William Hurt in Kiss of the Spider Woman)
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
1987A Prayer for the DyingFather Michael Da Costa
The Lonely Passion of Judith HearneJames MaddenEvening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor
1988Who Framed Roger RabbitEddie ValiantEvening 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 RawneyDarkyAlso director
1990Heart ConditionJack Moony
MermaidsLou Landsky
1991The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big FishLouis Aubinard
ShatteredGus Klein
The Inner CircleLavrentiy Beria
1992Passed AwayJohnny Scanlan
Blue IceSam Garcia
1993Super Mario Bros. Mario Mario
The Big FreezeSidney
1995NixonJ. Edgar HooverNominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1996RainbowFrank BaileyAlso director
The Secret AgentVerloc
MichaelVartan Malt
1997Twenty Four SevenAlan DarcyEuropean Film Award for Best Actor
Spice WorldGinger Spice's disguiseCameo
1998Cousin BetteCesar Crevel
1999Parting ShotsGerd Layton
Captain JackJack Armistead
Felicia's JourneyHilditchGenie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
A Room for Romeo BrassSteven Laws
The White River KidBrother Edgar
2000American VirginJoey
2001Enemy at the GatesNikita Khrushchev
Last OrdersRay "Raysie" JohnsonNational Board of Review Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble
Nominated – European Film Award for Best Actor (shared with ensemble cast)
2002Where Eskimos LiveSharkey
Maid in ManhattanLionel Bloch
2003The Sleeping DictionaryHenryDVD Exclusive Award for Best Supporting Actor in a DVD Premiere Movie
Den of LionsDarius Paskevic
2004Vanity FairSir Pitt Crawley
Beyond the SeaCharlie Maffia
Son of the MaskOdinNominated – Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor[42]
Mrs Henderson PresentsVivian Van DammNational 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
StayDr. Leon Patterson
2006Paris, je t'aimeBob LeanderSegment: "Pigalle"
The Wind in the WillowsBadger
Garfield: A Tail of Two KittiesWinstonVoice
HollywoodlandEddie Mannix
OutlawWalter Lewis
Ruby BlueJackOxford International Film Festival - Best Actor
Go Go TalesThe Baron
2008DoomsdayBill Nelson
2009A Christmas CarolMr. Fezziwig / Old JoeMotion capture; voice
2010Made in DagenhamAlbertNominated – British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor
2012Outside BetPercy "Smudge" Smith
2012Snow White and the HuntsmanMuir


Year Title Role Notes
1972VillainsCharles Grindley3 episode
Play for TodayTaxi driverEpisode: "The Bankrupt"
1973Crown CourtFreddie Dean3 episodes
New Scotland YardEddie WhartonEpisode: "Weight of Evidence"
Softly, Softly: TaskforceParkerEpisode: "Outrage"
Play for TodayWoodbineEpisode: "Her Majesty's Pleasure"
1974Shoulder to ShoulderJack DunnEpisode: "Outrage"
Thick as ThievesDobbs8 episodes
Play for TodayBlakeEpisode: "Schmoedipus"
1975On the MoveAlf2 years, 100 episodes
1976ThrillerSammy DraperEpisode: "Cry Terror"
The CrezzDetective Sergeant MarbleEpisode: "A Flash of Inspiration"
1977Van der ValkJohnny PalmerEpisode: "Dead on Arrival"
Rock Follies of '77Johnny BrittenEpisode: "The Real Life"
1978Pennies from HeavenArthur Parker6 episodes
Nominated – BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor
1979Of Mycenae and MenMr. TaramasalatopoulosTelevision short
1980FlickersArnie Cole6 episodes
1981OthelloIagoTelevision film - BBC
1983The Beggar's OperaBeggarTelevision film - BBC
1985Mussolini and IBenito Mussolini4 episodes
1985The Dunera BoysMorrie Mendellsohn2 episodes
1994The ChangelingDe FloresTelevision film
World War II: When Lions RoaredWinston ChurchillTelevision film - NBC
1995–1999The Forgotten ToysTeddyVoice
26 episodes
1996Tales from the CryptRedmondEpisode: "Fatal Caper"
1999David CopperfieldWilkins Micawber2 episodes
2000Noriega: God's FavoriteManuel NoriegaTelevision film
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Don QuixoteSancho PanzaTelevision film - Hallmark
2001The Lost WorldProfessor George ChallengerTelevision film - BBC
2003FrasierCoach FullerEpisode: "Trophy Girlfriend"
The Good Pope: Pope John XXIIIAngelo Roncalli/Pope John XXIIITelevision film
2008The Englishman's BoyDamon Ira Chance2 episodes
PinocchioGeppettoTelevision film
The Last Word Monologuesunnamed hitmanEpisode: "A Bit of Private Business"
2009The StreetPaddy Gargan2 episodes
International Emmy Award for Best Actor
2011NeverlandSmee2 episodes


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  5. Confirmed on Desert Island Discs in November 1988
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  20. Evans, Bradford (7 April 2011). "The Lost Roles of Eddie Murphy". Splitsider. Archived from the original on 23 July 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
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  23. Cartoon Hangover (29 December 2015). "107 Facts About Who Framed Roger Rabbit". YouTube. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
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  26. "Watch Jamie T's "Sheila" Video « The Lefort Report". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
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  36. Grice, Elizabeth (13 December 2001). "'I'm no tough guy'". The Daily Telegraph.
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