On screen and in life, Bob Hoskins was a lovable cockney rogue.
To my generation Bob, who died last Tuesday, is most fondly identified as private eye Eddie Valiant in the ground-breaking ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’, but had a prolific career as a character actor.
With no prior experience, a drunken audition in his twenties won Bob the lead in a play, starting his acting career.
His breakthrough would come in the surreal BBC drama Pennies from Heaven in 1978. In 1987, he won the Best Actor BAFTA and was Oscar nominated for Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa. The following year came ‘...Roger Rabbit?’; a challenging film for Hoskins, who had to perform alone for most of the shoot, with the animated characters added in post production. It would be a massive success, followed up with hits like Mermaids (1990) and Steven Spielberg’s Hook (1991). Bob would later name 1993’s Super Mario Bros, a high profile flop adapted from the popular Nintendo game, as the worst experience of his career.
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, he retired from acting in 2012. In the wake of his passing, co-stars from across his career are echoing the same sentiment; Bob Hoskins was a natural.