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R.I.P. Bob Hoskins (1942-2014)

R.I.P. Bob Hoskins (1942-2014)

Two years ago, Bob Hoskins made the announcement that due to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, he would be retiring from acting. It gave us a chance to reflect on his 5 Best Performances, and those will certainly be treasured ever more, with Hoskins sadly passing away today at the age of 71, after battling pneumonia.

Hoskins was probably not the most obvious face for the stage or screen, but that was also what made him a distinctive and well-regarded actor. Fueled by passion for the profession, he started with small roles in the theatre and on television, and finally got a break in the 1978 mini-series “Pennies From Heaven,” kicking open the door to some of his most iconic roles.

The 1980s saw Hoskins establish himself as one of the finest of his generation thanks to terrific turns in John Mackenzie‘s “The Long Good Friday,” Neil Jordan‘s “Mona Lisa” (for which he received his only Oscar nomination) and Terry Gilliam‘s “Brazil.” And indeed, he became sought out by major filmmakers with Francis Ford Coppola tapping him for “The Cotton Club,” Steven Spielberg for “Hook,” and much more.

From indie efforts to big blockbusters (in particular, his great work in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?“), Hoskins produced a diverse filmography, and even if the films around him didn’t always come together, his performance was always worth watching. A talent unlike any other, Hoskins will be missed.

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Hoskins was in the tradition of a Cagney, Bogart or Robinson: a great character actor who won over audiences through his personality and sheer on-screen dynamism. In supporting roles, he wiped the floor with his better paid co-stars and – with lead roles – he showed just how vacuous and inadequate most other actors are. He didn't need to act toughness; he just exuded the quality, which made his on-screen vulnerability all the more touching and authentic. George in 'Mona Lisa' is one of my favorite performances for the strange bullishness and poignancy he brought to the role. Others might have played the naive George a little more ironically, but Hoskins completed invested in the character's bruising exterior and childlike interior.

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