British actor Bob Hoskins, whose varied career ranged from noir drama Mona Lisa to animated fantasy Who Framed Roger Rabbit has died at the age of 71.
A family statement released on Wednesday by publicist Clair Dobbs said Hoskins died in hospital after a bout of pneumonia. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012.
A versatile character actor capable of menace, quiet poignancy and Cockney charm, Hoskins appeared in some of the most acclaimed British films of the past few decades, including gangster classic The Long Good Friday. His Hollywood roles included Mermaids and Hook.
Helen Mirren, who starred alongside Hoskins in The Long Good Friday, called him “a great actor and an even greater man. Funny, loyal, instinctive, hard-working, with that inimitable energy that seemed like a spectacular firework rocket just as it takes off”.
“I personally will miss him very much, London will miss one of her best and most loving sons, and Britain will miss a man to be proud of,” Mirren said.
Hoskins’ movie breakthrough came in 1980 thriller The Long Good Friday, playing an East End gangster hoping to profit from redevelopment of London’s docks.
Hoskins specialised in tough guys with a soft centre, including the ex-con who chaperones Cathy Tyson’s escort in Neil Jordan’s 1986 film Mona Lisa.
He was nominated for a best-actor Academy Award for the role.
His best-remembered Hollywood role was as a detective investigating cartoon crime in 1988 hit Who Framed Roger Rabbit, one of the first major movies to meld animation and live action.
He worked in films big and small, mainstream and independent. Some were acclaimed (UK underdog hit Made in Dagenham), some panned (Spice Girls vehicle Spice World).
In 2012 Hoskins announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was retiring from acting.
His last role was as one of the seven dwarves in Snow White & The Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart.
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob,” said a statement from wife Linda and children Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack.