The Watchers

The Watchers

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Bob Hoskins (1942-2014)

We at The Watchers were very saddened to hear of the death of Bob Hoskins, who passed away today. He was 71 years old.

Born in Bury St Edmunds in 1942, Hoskins worked as a porter, lorry driver, window cleaner, fruit packer, and fire-eater at a circus before turning his hand to acting at the age of 26. His acting career started by accident when he was mistaken for an auditionee whilst waiting for a friend. He auditioned and got the part and then got an agent. 

After stage and television work in things like Villains and Crown Court, he landed the lead role in Dennis Potter's Pennies From Heaven (1978) and then went on to play vicious gangster Harold Shand in classic British crime thriller The Long Good Friday (1980), a role specifically written for him. He would receive the first of three BAFTA Film nominations for his performance.
Through the early 1980s, Hoskins did a variety of different roles- playing Iago in a 1981 version of Othello, opposite Anthony Hopkins and Penelope Wilton, then appearing in John Mackenzie's The Honorary Consul (1983), Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club (1984) and Terry Gilliam's mindbending Brazil (1985). 

In 1986, he starred in Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa, playing an ex-con who gets a job driving a high-class call girl (Cathy Tyson) around. For his performance, Hoskins jointly won Best Actor at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival and won outright the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama, and the Best Actor BAFTA. He was also nominated for a Best Actor Oscar (his first and only nomination), although lost out to Paul Newman for The Color Of Money.

In 1988, he took the role of private eye Eddie Valiant in the partially animated and downright brilliant Who Framed Roger Rabbit, putting on a very convincing American accent. He starred opposite Cher, Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci in Mermaids (1990) and was excellent as Mr. Smee in Hook (1991), as right hand man to the deliciously OTT Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook. Around this time, Hoskins also appeared in several British Telecom adverts, with the tagline 'it's good to talk'.

In 1993, he appeared in the movie adaptation of Super Mario Brothers, playing Mario alongside John Leguizamo as Luigi and Dennis Hopper as King Koopa. Despite now being a cult film and a bit of a guilty pleasure, Hoskins considered it to be the worst thing he had done, describing the experience of filming it as 'a f**kin' nightmare'.  

Other stand-out films include Shane Meadows' 24/7 (1997), a chilling performance in Atom Egoyam's Felicia's Journey (1999) and a wonderful turn opposite Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005). Hoskins also played several real-life figures, including Winston Churchill in World War II: When Lions Roared (1994), J. Edgar Hoover in Nixon (1995), Manuel Noriega in Noriega: God's Favourite (2000), Nikita Krushchev in Enemy At The Gates (2001) and Pope John XXIII in The Good Pope (2003).

After appearing as the dwarf Muir in Snow White And The Huntsman in 2012, Hoskins announced his retirement from acting after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

A fine actor who will be missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very sad time.

The Watchers
(Rhys, Matt & Tez)

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