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Bob Hoskins
Bob hoskins filming ruby blue cropped.jpg
Hoskins in 2007, during the filming of Ruby Blue
Robert William Hoskins

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

Linda Banwell
m. 1982⁠–⁠2014)

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).

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 filming Ruby Blue in 2006
Hoskins filming Ruby Blue in 2006

Hoskins' acting career began in 1968 at the Victoria Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent, in a production of Romeo and Juliet in which he played 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]

Hoskins and Freddie Francis on location in Montreal for Rainbow in 1994
Hoskins and Freddie Francis on location in Montreal for Rainbow in 1994

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] 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.[24]

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".[25] 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.[26]

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

Personal life

In 1967, aged 25, Hoskins spent a short 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 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.[31][32] He made light of his similarities with film actor Danny DeVito, who, he joked, would play him in a film about his life.[33]

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).[34] Hoskins divided his time between Hampstead, London[35] and Chiddingly, East Sussex.[36]

Illness and death

In August 2012, Hoskins retired from acting after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011.[37]

On 29 April 2014, he died of pneumonia at a hospital in London, England at age 71.[1][38] He is survived by his second wife Linda Banwell and his four children.[39]

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][40]



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 (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
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 Goosinoff 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 (shared with ensemble cast)
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[41]
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; voice
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 - BBC
1983 The Beggar's Opera Beggar Television film - BBC
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 - NBC
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 - Hallmark
2001 The Lost World Professor George Challenger Television film - BBC
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


  1. ^ a b Anderson, John (30 April 2014). "Bob Hoskins, Actor Who Combined Charm and Menace, Dies at 71". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Bob Hoskins Obituary". The Herald. Glasgow. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  3. ^ Hattenstone, Simon (2 August 2007). "The Method? Living it out? Cobblers!". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  4. ^ Moline 1988, p. 201.
  5. ^ Confirmed on Desert Island Discs in November 1988
  6. ^ "Bob Hoskins - obituary". The Daily Telegraph (30 April 2014). 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  7. ^ Farndale, Nigel (27 November 2009). "Bob Hoskins interview: 'My own mum wouldn't call me pretty'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "Bob Hoskins: 10 things you didn't know". The Daily Telegraph. 29 April 2015.
  9. ^ Neale, William A. (1 May 2014). "Bob Hoskins". Safety Curtain. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Bob Hoskins: Sold as seen". The Guardian. 9 October 1999. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  11. ^ Moline 1988, p. 17.
  12. ^ "On the Move (TV Series)". BFI Film & TV database. Archived from the original on 20 January 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  13. ^ "On the Move: How Bob Hoskins helped adults learn to read". BBC News. 3 May 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Helen Mirren on Bob Hoskins: 'A spectacular firework just as it takes off'". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  15. ^ Chris Fillm (2002). "Marketing Communications: Contexts, Strategies, and Applications". p. 516. Financial Times Prentice Hall
  16. ^ Kay, Dan (30 April 2014). "Much-loved British actor Bob Hoskins dies age 71". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  17. ^ Collins, Andrew. "Spice World: the Movie". Radio Times. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Bob Hoskins to retire after Parkinson's diagnosis". BBC News. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  19. ^ Stewart, James B. (2005). DisneyWar. New York City: Simon & Schuster. p. 86. ISBN 978-0684809939.
  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.
  21. ^ "Siskel & Ebert 1988-Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1of3)". YouTube. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  22. ^ "Bob Hoskins interview: "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"". Danmarks Radio. YouTube. 13 August 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  23. ^ Cartoon Hangover (29 December 2015). "107 Facts About Who Framed Roger Rabbit". YouTube. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  24. ^ "Bob Hoskins paid not to play Capone". Metro. London. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  25. ^ "Watch Jamie T's "Sheila" Video « The Lefort Report". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  26. ^ "Farewell to one of the greats, Bob Hoskins". Moviepilot. Archived from the original on 10 January 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  27. ^ "Bob Hoskins retires from acting". ITV News. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  28. ^ Sharrock, David (24 February 2007). "After nearly a century, Israel's first kibbutz calls time on communism". The Times. London. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  29. ^ Stuart, Jan (7 November 1999). "MOVIES: Still Breathing Fire BOB HOSKINS dropped out of high school. Joined a circus. Fled to Israel. Then, he discovered acting". Newsday. Archived from the original on 25 July 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  30. ^ "Bob Hoskins – Obituary". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  31. ^ Walker, Tim (21 April 2010). Eden, Richard (ed.). "Bob Hoskins: It's the long goodbye for Gordon Brown". The Daily Telegraph.
  32. ^ "Q&A: Bob Hoskins". The Guardian. 17 June 2011.
  33. ^ Greenstreet, Rosanna (18 June 2011). "Q&A: Bob Hoskins". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  34. ^ "Linda Hoskins saved him from an earlier death from alcohol". Daily Entertainment News. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  35. ^ Grice, Elizabeth (13 December 2001). "'I'm no tough guy'". The Daily Telegraph.
  36. ^ Roberts, Anna (11 August 2012). "Bob Hoskins to sell his Sussex home". The Argus.
  37. ^ "Bob Hoskins to retire after Parkinson's diagnosis". BBC News. BBC. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  38. ^ Rozen, Leah (30 April 2014). "An Appreciation: Five Worthy Roles Played by Actor Bob Hoskins, Dead at Age 71". BBC America. BBBC. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  39. ^ "Bob Hoskins dies of pneumonia aged 71". BBC News. BBC. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  40. ^ "Bob Hoskins tributes: 'a true gentleman'". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. 30 April 2014. Archived from the original on 30 April 2014. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  41. ^ "26th Annual Razzie Award Nominees for Worst Supporting Actor". John Wilson and the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. Archived from the original on 23 June 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2013.


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