Bob Hoskins

This article is about the actor. For the American football player, see Bob Hoskins (American football). For the philanthropist, see Bob Hoskins (philanthropist).
Bob Hoskins

Hoskins during the filming of Ruby Blue in 2007
Born Robert William Hoskins
(1942-10-26)26 October 1942
Bury St Edmunds, West Suffolk, England
Died 29 April 2014(2014-04-29) (aged 71)
London, England
Cause of death Pneumonia
Occupation Actor
Years active 1968–2012
Spouse(s) Jane Livesey (m. 1967; div. 1978)
Linda Banwell (m. 1982; his death 2014)
Children 4

Robert William "Bob" Hoskins (26 October 1942 – 29 April 2014) was an English actor.[1] His work included lead roles in 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.

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 (Hopkins) Hoskins, a cook and nursery school teacher.[2][3] His grandmother was a Romani.[4] From two weeks old, he was brought up in Finsbury Park, London.[5] He left school at the age of 15 with a single O-Level and worked as a porter, lorry driver, and window cleaner. He started on a 3-year accountancy course, but dropped out.[6]


In 1968, Hoskins' acting career began at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent. He portrayed a servant named Peter in a production of Romeo and Juliet.[7] In 1969, he worked at the Unity Theatre in London, England. One evening, he was waiting in the Unity Theatre bar for his friend, the actor Roger Frost, to finish an audition. Whilst drinking at the bar, he was given a script and told, "You're next."[8] He got the part, with Frost ending up his understudy. Frost recalled, "Bob was a natural. He just got up on stage and was brilliant."[9]

His first major television role was in On the Move (1975-6),[10] an educational series intended to tackle adult illiteracy, in which he portrayed 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.[11] Hoskins' breakthrough television role came in the original BBC version of Dennis Potter's innovative 6-part fantasy-drama Pennies from Heaven (1978) as adulterous sheet music salesman Arthur Parker. Later, he portrayed Iago in Jonathan Miller's BBC Television Shakespeare production of Othello.[12]

Hoskins' performances in British films, such as The Long Good Friday (1980) and Mona Lisa (1986), won him the wider approval of the critics and, in the case of the latter, a Cannes Award, Best Actor Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He also delivered comic turns in Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985) and as Mario in Super Mario Bros. (1993). In 2007, Hoskins told The Guardian that he regretted starring in Super Mario Bros., stating 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] 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).[13][14]

Hoskins filming Ruby Blue in 2007

He had a small role as Pink Floyd's manager in The Wall. He was slated to be a last-minute replacement in The Untouchables if Robert De Niro had not decided to portray Al Capone. When De Niro took the part, 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.[15]

In 1988, Hoskins played 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,[16] and Eddie Murphy[17] were all considered for the part, but film critics agreed that Hoskins was perfect for the role, the most prominent among them being Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.[18] As Hoskins' character interacts and makes physical contact with animated characters in the film, Hoskins was required to take mime training courses in preparation, and after shooting ended, he suffered from hallucinations for months afterward.[19][20] Hoskins was nominated for a Golden Globe award for this performance, and won a British Evening Standard award.

Some of Hoskins' other work include playing opposite Cher in Mermaids (1990), portraying Smee in Hook (1991) and in Neverland (2011), and playing Uncle Bart, the psychopathic and violent "owner" of Jet Li in Unleashed aka Danny The Dog. He returned to television in productions for the BBC, including Flickers, David Copperfield as Wilkins Micawber (1999), and The Wind in the Willows (2006). He portrayed Nikita Khrushchev as a political commissar in Enemy at the Gates (2001). Hoskins received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Mrs Henderson Presents, a film he also produced with Norma Heyman.[21]

Hoskins also directed two films, both of which he starred in; The Raggedy Rawney (1988) and Rainbow (1996). In 2009, he made a return to television in Jimmy McGovern's drama serial The Street, where he played a publican who stands up to 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.[22]

On 8 August 2012, Hoskins announced his retirement from acting after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011.[23]

Personal life

Hoskins' father was a communist and brought up Hoskins to be an atheist.[24] In 1967, aged 25, Hoskins spent a short period of time volunteering in kibbutz Zikim in Israel,[25][26] and also herded camels in Syria.[27] In an interview, when asked what he owed his parents, he said, "Confidence. My mum used to say to me, 'If somebody doesn't like you, fuck 'em, they've got bad taste.'" When asked which living person he most despised, Hoskins named Tony Blair and claimed that "he's done even more damage than Thatcher". He made light of his similarities with film actor Danny DeVito, whom he joked would play him in a film about his life.[28]

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).[29]

Illness and death

In August 2012, Hoskins retired from acting due to being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011.[30]

On 29 April 2014, he died of pneumonia at a hospital in London, England at age 71.[1][31] He is survived by his second wife Linda Banwell and his four children.[32]

After his death, Robert Zemeckis, the director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, released a statement saying that Hoskins brought enjoyment to audiences worldwide.[33] 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".[12][34]

On the second anniversary of his death, as a tribute to Hoskins, some Twitter users posted links to articles about his death. This led to some confusion, as others believed he had just died. There was then a flood of tributes to him on social media.[35]



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
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 only
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
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[36]
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 only
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
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
Play for Today Taxi driver Episode: "The Bankrupt"
1973 Crown Court
New Scotland Yard Eddie Wharton
Softly, Softly: Taskforce Parker
Play for Today Woodbine Episode: "Her Majesty's Pleasure"
1974 Shoulder to Shoulder Jack Dunn
Thick as Thieves Dobbs
Play for Today Blake Episode: "Schmoedipus"
1975 On the Move Alf
1976 Thriller Sammy Draper
The Crezz Detective Sergeant Marble
1977 Van der Valk Johnny Palmer
Rock Follies of '77 Johnny Britten
1978 Pennies from Heaven Arthur Parker Nominated – BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor
1979 Of Mycenae and Men Mr. Taramasalatopoulos
1980 Flickers Arnie Cole
1981 Othello Iago
1983 The Beggar's Opera Beggar
1985 Mussolini and I Benito Mussolini
1985 The Dunera Boys Morrie Mendellsohn Australian mini-series
1994 The Changeling De Flores
World War II: When Lions Roared Winston Churchill
1995–1999 The Forgotten Toys Teddy Voice only
1996 Tales from the Crypt
1998 Saturday Night Live Himself
1999 David Copperfield Wilkins Micawber
2000 Noriega: God's Favorite Manuel Noriega Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Don Quixote Sancho Panza
2001 The Lost World Professor George Challenger
2003 Frasier Coach Fuller
The Good Pope: Pope John XXIII Angelo Roncalli / Pope John XXIII
2008 The Englishman's Boy Damon Ira Chance
Pinocchio Geppetto
The Last Word Monologues unnamed hitman Episode: "A Bit of Private Business"
2009 The Street Paddy Gargan International Emmy Award for best actor
2011 Neverland Smee


  1. 1 2 John Anderson (April 30, 2014). "Bob Hoskins, Actor Who Combined Charm and Menace, Dies at 71". New York Times.
  2. "Bob Hoskins Obituary". The Herald. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  3. 1 2 Hattenstone, Simon (2 August 2007). "The Method? Living it out? Cobblers!". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  4. Moline, Karen (1988). Bob Hoskins: An Unlikely Hero. Michigan: Sidgwick & Jackson. p. 201. ISBN 0-283-99508-4.
  5. Confirmed on Desert Island Discs in November 1988
  6. Farndale, Nigel (27 November 2009). "Bob Hoskins interview: 'My own mum wouldn't call me pretty'". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  7. "Bob Hoskins". 1 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  8. "Bob Hoskins: Sold as seen". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. 9 October 1999. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  9. Karen Moline, Bob Hoskins: an unlikely hero, p17, (Sidgwick & Jackson), 1988, ISBN 0283995084, 9780283995088
  10. "On the Move", BFI Film & TV database,
  11. "On the Move: How Bob Hoskins helped adults learn to read". BBC. 3 May 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  12. 1 2 "Helen Mirren on Bob Hoskins: 'A spectacular firework just as it takes off'. The Guardian. Retrieved 24 December 2014
  13. Chris Fillm (2002). "Marketing Communications: Contexts, Strategies, and Applications". p. 516. Financial Times Prentice Hall
  14. "Much-loved British actor Bob Hoskins dies age 71". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 24 December 2014
  15. "Bob Hoskins paid not to play Capone". Metro. UK. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  16. James B. Stewart (2005). DisneyWar. New York City: Simon & Schuster. p. 86. ISBN 0-684-80993-1.
  17. Evans, Bradford (7 April 2011). "The Lost Roles of Eddie Murphy". Splitsider. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  21. "Bob Hoskins to retire after Parkinson's diagnosis". BBC Retrieved 24 December 2014
  22. Movie Pilot Article on Bob Hoskins Death
  23. "Bob Hoskins retires from acting". 8 August 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  24. "Bob Hoskins – Celebrity Atheist List". Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  25. Sharrock, David (24 February 2007). "After nearly a century, Israel's first kibbutz calls time on communism". The Times. UK. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  26. 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. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  27. "Bob Hoskins – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  28. Greenstreet, Rosanna (18 June 2011). "Q&A: Bob Hoskins". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  29. "Linda Hoskins saved him from an earlier death from alcohol". Daily E News. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  30. "Bob Hoskins to retire after Parkinson's diagnosis". BBC. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  31. Rozen, Leah (30 April 2014). "An Appreciation: Five Worthy Roles Played by Actor Bob Hoskins, Dead at Age 71". BBC America. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  32. "Bob Hoskins dies of pneumonia aged 71". BBC. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  33. America, =BBC (30 April 2014). "Bob Hoskins dies of pneumonia age 71". BBC News. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  34. Telegraph, UK (30 April 2014). "Bob Hoskins tributes". Telegraph. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  35. "Hoskins dies again as twitter gets confused". BBC. 1 May 2016.
  36., "26th Annual Razzie Award Nominees for Worst Supporting Actor". Retrieved 7 March 2013.

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