Bob Hoskins - Actor’s Biography

Bob Hoskins (Bury St. Edmunds, England, UK, October 26, 1942 - London, England, UK, April 29, 2014)

Bob Hoskins was an English film, television and theatre actor and director. He was born as Robert William Hoskins in a working class family in England and left school at the age of fifteen. In between his many jobs he often went to theatre and was interested in literature and language. He entered the acting world by pure accident; he was accompanying his friend to an audition and got mistaken for a candidate. He read the text, immediately got the part and hired an agent. At first he starred only in theatre and soon got some roles in TV series. One of his first TV roles was in the series Villains (1972). For the leading role in the mini-series Pennies from Heaven (1978) he was nominated for the BAFTA award. One of his roles for the big screen was the one in the comedy Inserts (1975) directed by John Byrum, starring Richard Dreyfuss. He also starred in the historical film Zulu Dawn (1979) by Douglas Hickox, also featuring Burt Lancaster and Peter O'Toole. He got his first leading role as a gangster in The Long Good Friday (1980) by John Mackenzie starring Helen Mirren, which was a great success and earned Hoskins a BAFTA nomination. Afterwards he acted as the rock manager in the musical Pink Floyd The Wall (1982) by Alan Parker, in smaller roles in The Cotton Club (1984) by Francis Ford Coppola and Brazil (1985) by Terry Gilliam. In 1986, he starred in the comedy Sweet Liberty (1986) by the director Alan Alda. He had the leading role in Neil Jordan’s crime drama Mona Lisa (1986), for which he was nominated for an Oscar and awarded the BAFTA award, Golden Globe and the award as Best Actor in Cannes (together with Michel Blanc in Tenue de soirée). Because of his roles as a gangster and his recognizable cockney accent he was nicknamed The Cockney Cagney. Director Brian De Palma offered him a role in his film The Untouchables (1987) in case his first choice, Robert De Niro, is unavailable. However, De Niro accepted the role and De Palma gave Hoskins 200 000 dollars to thank him for his understanding. Jokingly, Hoskins asked the director if there is any other films that he does not want Hoskins to act in. Afterwards, he starred in the thriller A Prayer for the Dying (1987) starring Mickey Rourke, followed by one of his most famous films, the combination of animated and live action film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) by Robert Zemeckis, which was a huge success and made Hoskins into a worldwide star. His next project was the war drama The Raggedy Rawney (1988), which he also directed but which was not so well received. His next hit was Steven Spielberg’s Hook (1991). During the 1990’s he appeared in many feature films, those were mostly less known. He directed his second film Rainbow (1995), but it was even less successful than the first one. Most of his films that he starred in in the 1990’s were American productions such as the biopic Nixon (1995) by Oliver Stone, comedy Michael (1996) by Nora Ephron and the Canadian-British production Felicia's Journey (1999) by Atom Egoyan. Another important role was in the British drama 24 7: Twenty Four Seven (1997) that brought him the European Film Award for Best Actor. His next blockbuster was the film Enemy at the Gates, (2001) by Jean-Jacques Annaud in which he portrayed Nikita Khrushchev. In that same year he starred in the British drama Last Orders (2001) by Fred Schepisi. Some of his other smaller roles include those in the romantic drama The Sleeping Dictionary (2003), biopic Beyond the Sea (2004) by Kevin Spacey, drama Unleashed (2005), comedy Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005) by Stephen Frears, American production Hollywoodland (2006), British drama Ruby Blue (2007) and British historical drama Made in Dagenham (2010). In 2012, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after which he announced his retirement from acting. His last role was in the film Snow White and the Huntsman (2012). He died in 2014 after pneumonia at the age of seventy one.