Remembering Bob: Hoskins in 1986 at the Cannes premier of Mona Lisa. Photo: Getty
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Bob Hoskins’s finest film moments, from Mona Lisa to Roger Rabbit

The British actor died yesterday of pneumonia following several years with Parkinson’s. We look back at some of his most memorable film roles over five decades.

Bob Hoskins retired from acting in 2012 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease the year before. He died yesterday of pneumonia in hospital, surrounded by his family. He was 71. 

Hoskins, son of a nursery school teacher and a communist, atheist lorry driver and with one Romani gypsy grandmother, was born in Suffolk, but grew up in Finsbury Park in London. And it was as the archetypal Cockney geezer that he became known. His diminutive height (5 ft 5) also lent itself to a string of comedy roles and character parts but he could do deeply menacing too, playing gangsters both British and Italian-American. 

Here are clips from some of his best or most memorable big-screen roles:

As Harold Shand, the British gangster attempting to become a legit businessman in The Long Good Friday (1980). Here the final, fatal scene:

 

As the US club-owning mobster Owney Madden in 1984 crime drama The Cotton Club:

 

The darkly comic repairman Spoor in Terry Gilliam's steampunk dytopia Brazil (at 3 mins)

 

In perhaps his most iconic role, George the ex-con and driver for prostitute Simone (Cathy Dyson) in Mona Lisa (1986)

 

As Eddie Valiant, an alcoholic private investigator who holds a grudge against the Toons in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

 

As Cher's lover Lou in Mermaids (1990)

 

As the eponymous plumber Mario Mario in the so bad it's... still bad videogame-to-big-screen Super Mario Bros (1993)

 

As Verloc in the under-the-radar adaptation of  Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent (1996)

 

As the boxing impresario Alan Darcy in Shane Meadows's Twenty-Four Seven (1997); here in a famous dancing scene:

 

Going romcom with J-Lo in Maid in Manhattan (2002), as wise hotel head butler Lionel Bloch:

 

 

As the Windmill Theatre manager with Judi Dench in Mrs Henderson Presents (2005)

 

And as the sympathetic factory boss Albert in Made in Dagenham (2010)

 

And finally...  

A little bit more Bob in this classic shower scene, also from The Long Good Friday

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Thomas Calvocoressi is Chief Sub (Digital) at the New Statesman and writes about visual arts for the magazine.

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“Minoan pendant”: a new poem by Mark Granier

“Yes – I press my nose / to the pleasantly warm glass – / it’s a copy of one I saw / cased in the cool museum”

Yes – I press my nose
to the pleasantly warm glass –
it’s a copy of one I saw
cased in the cool museum –
gold beaten to honey, a grainy
oval dollop, flanked by two
slim symmetrical bees –

garland for a civilisation’s
rise and collapse, eye-dropped
five thousand years: a flash
of evening sun on a windscreen
or wing mirror – Heraklion’s
scooter-life buzzing and humming –

as I step in to browse, become
mesmerised by the warm
dark eyes of the woman
who gives her spiel and moves
softly and with such grace,
that, after leaving, I hesitate

a moment on the pavement
then re-enter with a question
I know not to ask, but ask
anyway, to hear her voice
soften even more as she smiles
and shakes her hair – no.

Mark Granier is an Irish poet and photographer. He is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Haunt (Salmon).

This article first appeared in the 16 June 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Britain on the brink