Throwback Thursday: When Bob Hoskins Left Window Cleaning for Acting
This story first appeared in the May 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Bob Hoskins was the quintessential character actor who became a star. He'd had a career playing every bald, round-faced historical figure of note, from Pope John XXIII to Winston Churchill to Benito Mussolini, but it was as Harold Shand, the bullet-shaped Brit gangster with the guttural Cockney accent in 1980's The Long Good Friday, that he first was noticed in a film role.
"The dynamism of Hoskins' performance … is one of the film's magnetic attractions," wrote The Hollywood Reporter. Born in Suffolk, England, Hoskins never had taken an acting class. He'd been a window cleaner and merchant seaman and had studied to be an accountant. He claimed to have fallen into acting in 1969, when he was waiting in a bar for a friend's theater audition. He was handed a script, told he was next and got the part. "When Bob came on the scene, no one had seen the likes of him," Pierce Brosnan, who had a small role in Good Friday as an IRA hitman, tells THR.
A best actor Oscar nominee for 1986's Mona Lisa, Hoskins, who'd been married twice and had four children, died April 29 in London from pneumonia. He was 71.