British actor Bob Hoskins, whose varied career credits ranged from his Oscar-nominated turn in Neil Jordan‘s noir drama Mona Lisa to animated fantasy Who Framed Roger Rabbit has died. He was 71.
Hoskins died in a hospital after a bout of pneumonia, according to a family statement released to the media on Wednesday by his agent Clair Dobbs.
The star, who was born in Suffolk after his mother was evacuated from London during World War II, grew up in North London and left school at age 15 to work at a series of odd jobs — including as a porter, lorry driver and window cleaner — while dreaming of getting into acting.
Billed as a versatile character actor capable of menace, quiet poignancy and cockney charm, Hoskins’ acting résumé also boasts appearances in a slew of acclaimed British films of the past few decades, including gangster classic The Long Good Friday, in which he starred opposite Helen Mirren.
Tough guys with soft centers were a Hoskins trademark, and his turn as George, the ex-con who chaperones Cathy Tyson‘s escort in the 1986 film Mona Lisa, garnered his one Oscar nomination.
His Hollywood breakthrough came when he played a detective investigating cartoon crime in the part-animated 1988 hit Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
He also played the pirate Smee in Steven Spielberg‘s 1991 Peter Pan movie Hook.
In 2012 Hoskins announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was retiring from acting after completing work in his last role as one of the seven dwarves in the Kristen Stewart starrer Snow White and the Huntsman.
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob,” said a statement from wife Linda and children Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack.
The tributes began to flow across social media shortly after the statement of his death was released.
TV presenter and comedian Stephen Fry tweeted: “Oh no, Bob Hoskins. Gone? That’s awful news. The Long Good Friday is one of the best British movies of the modern era. A marvellous man.”
Broadchurch and Line of Duty actress Vicky McClure, who starred opposite Hoskins in Shane Meadows‘ A Room for Romeo Brass, said: “Just heard the very sad news Bob Hoskins has died. He was one of the best. I feel honored to have met & worked with him. RIP Bob. XX”
Officials at BAFTA tweeted that they were “deeply saddened” to hear of the actor’s death, while Simon Pegg wrote: “Really sad news about Bob Hoskins. Great and varied career.”
U.K. government culture minister Ed Vaizey also paid tribute to the popular actor.
He said: “For decades, Bob Hoskins has entertained television and film audiences of all age groups around the world. The British film industry has lost one of its true greats, and my thoughts and sympathies go out to his family and friends.”
Pop star turned actor and filmmaker Martin Kemp said: “RIP Bob Hoskins, ‘Long Good Friday’ one of the best movies ever made! You will be missed.”
And Danny Dyer, the British cult actor who has become synonymous with London cockney characters, tweeted: “RIP Bob Hoskins…..gone but never ever forgotten. :(“
The family statement said Hoskins died peacefully at the hospital last night surrounded by family, following a bout of pneumonia.
“We ask that you respect our privacy during this time and thank you for your messages of love and support.”
Hoskins started out on the stage before going on to develop his television and film career.
On the small screen, he appeared in shows such as Play for Today, On the Move, Van der Valk and BBC drama The Street, for which he won an Emmy.
His movie credits also included Mermaids, Hook, Mrs. Henderson Presents and Made in Dagenham.
Hoskins was BAFTA-film-nominated twice prior to his Mona Lisa win, for The Honorary Consul in 1984 and The Long Good Friday in 1982.
He was also nominated for a TV BAFTA for his role in Dennis Potter‘s BBC musical drama Pennies From Heaven.