British actor Bob Hoskins has passed away at 71. He reportedly succumbed to pneumonia and complications from Parkinson's disease.
Best known for his lead role in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? as Detective Eddie Valiant, he is also fondly remembered for his performances as Captain Hook's right hand man Smee in Steven Spielberg's Hook and the iconic video game character Mario in Super Mario Bros. He also played an important role in the cult classic Terry Gilliam fantasy drama Brazil.
Born in West Suffolk on October 26, 1942, Bob Hoskins started his way in show business as a circus fire-eater and prided himself on never having took an acting lesson in his life. He began his career as a 'thespian' on stage and in small television roles before making his presence known in the classic 1980 drama The Long Good Friday. He soon followed that up playing a rock and roll manager in the cult favorite Pink Floyd The Wall as well as the Tom Selleck adventure Lassiter and the infamous Francis Ford Coppola bomb The Cotton Club. He became well known for his distinct Cockney accent, which many American movie producers allowed him to keep in his performances. It wasn't until Who Framed Roger Rabbit? that he became a true leading man, with 1988 marking a banner year for the performer. He always felt that his only real competition in Hollywood, in terms of physicality, was Danny DeVito, who he saw as his loving nemesis. Danny DeVito was originally set to play Mario before Hoskins stepped in to assume the role of the Nintendo character made popular in the 80s.
Heading into the late 90s and early 2000s, Bob Hoskins slowed down his acting career. He appeared as Odin in 2005's misguided sequel Son of the Mask and took on the fan favorite role of Bart in Jet Li's Unleashed. He last appeared as the dwarf Muir in 2012's Snow White and the Huntsman before announcing his retirement after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The year before that, he reprised his role as Smee in the TV miniseries Neverland.
In the late 80s, Bob Hoskins was also in the lead to star as Wolverine/Logan in the first adaptation of X-Men, back when 20th Century Fox had a completely different take on the Marvel Comic Book and its famous characters. He would have been a more comical personification of the healing mutant with the adamantium claws. It was a role that would eventually go to Hugh Jackman. He was also waiting in the wings as Al Capone in case Robert De Niro decided to drop out at the last minute for 1987's The Untouchables.
Bob Hoskins is survived by four children from his two marriages including his most recent wife of 32 years, Linda Banwell.