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