Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Bob Hoskins, 71, British actor

Bob Hoskins died at 71.
Bob Hoskins died at 71.
Bob Hoskins died at 71. Gallery: Bob Hoskins, 71, British actor

LONDON - Bob Hoskins never lost his Cockney accent, even as he became a global star who charmed and alarmed audiences in a vast range of roles.

Short and bald, with a face he once compared to "a squashed cabbage," Mr. Hoskins was a remarkably versatile performer. As a gangster in The Long Good Friday, he moved from bravura bluster to tragic understatement. In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, he cavorted with a cast of animated characters, making technological trickery seem natural.

A family statement released Wednesday said Mr. Hoskins had died in a hospital the night before after a bout of pneumonia. He was 71 and had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2012.

Helen Mirren, who starred alongside Mr. Hoskins in The Long Good Friday, called him "a great actor and an even greater man. Funny, loyal, instinctive, hard-working, with that inimitable energy that seemed like a spectacular firework rocket just as it takes off."

"I personally will miss him very much, London will miss one of her best and most loving sons, and Britain will miss a man to be proud of," Mirren said.

The 5-foot-6-inch Mr. Hoskins, who was built like a bullet, specialized in tough guys with a soft center, including the ex-con who chaperones Cathy Tyson's escort in Neil Jordan's 1986 film Mona Lisa. Mr. Hoskins was nominated for a best-actor Academy Award for the role.

His breakout Hollywood role was as a detective investigating cartoon crime in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a tribute to hardboiled 1940s entertainment that was one of the first major movies to meld animation and live action. The 1988 Robert Zemeckis film was a huge global success that won three Oscars.

Born in 1942 in eastern England, where his mother had moved to escape wartime bombing, Robert W. Hoskins Jr. was raised in a working-class part of north London.

Jill Lawless Associated Press
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