Bob Hoskins’ 17 Best And Strangest Roles
The actor, who died Monday at 71, was an Oscar nominee who wasn’t afraid to play a video game plumber. Here’s a look at some of the greatest and oddest roles in his long career.
1. Pennies from Heaven (1978)
BBC/Courtesy Everett Collection
Hoskins originated the role of traveling sheet music salesman Arthur in the acclaimed TV version of Dennis Potter’s dark musical, only for Steve Martin to take over in the starrier American movie remake a few years later.
2. The Long Good Friday (1980)
Embassy Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
Hoskins’ film breakthrough was as Harold Shand, a London gangster trying to go straight while slowly losing control of his criminal empire, with no less than Helen Mirren at his side as his high-class gun moll Victoria.
3. Pink Floyd The Wall (1982)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Via youtube.com
As the manager of morose rock star Pink (Bob Geldof) in Alan Parker’s trippy film based on the Pink Floyd album, Hoskins wasn’t above drugging his client in order to get him on stage.
4. Brazil (1985)
Universal Studios / Via youtube.com
In Terry Gilliam’s surreal portrait of a totalitarian, bureaucratic nightmare state, Hoskins was firmly on the side of the man as Spoor, one of two Central Services workers making the life of protagonist Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) more difficult.
5. Mona Lisa (1986)
Island Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
The role that got Hoskins his Academy Award nomination found him playing ex-con George, who slowly befriends the high-priced call girl (Cathy Tyson) he’s been assigned to drive around and protect, eventually promising to help find the friend from her earlier days she fears is still on the street.
6. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
This is the movie that made Hoskins a famous face on both sides of the Atlantic. As hard-drinking private eye and reluctant hero Eddie Valiant, he held his own against a group of animated co-stars that includes the Toon of the title, voiced by Charles Fleischer.
7. Mermaids (1990)
Orion Pictures Corp/Courtesy Everett Collection
Hoskins played the man who managed to win Cher’s heart and convince her to settle down in this dramedy about a unconventional woman prone to moving to new towns with her daughters (played by Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci) after her love affairs go wrong.
8. Hook (1991)
TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
In Steven Spielberg’s reimagining of the Peter Pan story, Hoskins was Captain Hook’s (Dustin Hoffman) trusted and tricky henchman Smee.
9. Super Mario Bros. (1993)
Ronald Grant Archive / Mary Evans / Everett Collection
This live-action adaptation of the the ’80s Nintendo video game was basically the reason we didn’t see another of its kind until the 2000s. It was a critical and financial disaster, but Hoskins’ nailed Mario’s Brooklyn accent and, more importantly, his mustache.
10. Nixon (1995)
Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
In Oliver Stone’s cinematic biography of the United States’ 37th president, Hoskins appeared as former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to Anthony Hopkins’ titular role.
11. Spice World (1997)
Columbia Pictures / Via putlocker.bz
Hoskins only appeared in six seconds of this Spice Girls comedy that featured cameos from the U.K.’s finest like Elton John, Jennifer Saunders, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Bob Geldof, and Jonathan Ross. Though he didn’t even have a speaking part, playing a disguise for Ginger Spice (Geri Halliwell) in a fictional film within the film called Spice Force Five, he did get to mouth “Girl power.”
12. A Room for Romeo Brass (1999)
2000 USA Films / Online USA / Getty Images
In Shane Meadow’s moving dramedy, Hoskins had a minor but pivotal role as narcoleptic tutor Steve Laws after he earned acclaim in Twenty-Four Seven, which was also directed and written by Meadows two years prior.
13. Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005)
Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection
In this British comedy, Hoskins showed a lighter side opposite Judi Dench. The based-on-a-true-story tale followed Mrs. Laura Henderson, the eccentric seventysomething widow who purchased the Windmill Theater in London and turned it into the Moulin Rouge of the U.K. alongside autocratic manager Vivian Van Damm (Hoskins).
14. Hollywoodland (2006)
Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection
In this biographical docudrama about the death of actor George Reeves (Ben Affleck), the titular actor in the ’50s television series Adventures of Superman, Hoskins played the thug of an MGM studio executive Eddie Mannix, a performance Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers called “killer-good.”
15. Outlaw (2007)
Magnolia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
The British crime drama starring Game of Thrones’ Sean Bean and Homeland’s Rupert Friend saw Hoskins play the one non-corrupt police officer, Walter Lewis.
16. A Christmas Carol (2009)
Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection
In the 3D animated take on the Charles Dickens story, Hoskins voiced two characters: Mr. Fezziwig, the proprietor of a warehouse business for whom Scrooge apprenticed, and Old Joe, who buys Scrooge’s belonging in a different version of Scrooge’s sliding doors tale. The project reunited Hoskins with Robert Zemeckis, who penned and directed the reimagining and also directed Who Framed Roger Rabbit two decades earlier.
17. Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
Universal Pictures / Via imdb.com
Just a few months after this dark take on the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale — in which Hoskins played Muir, the blind elder dwarf with the power of premonition — hit theaters, the then 69-year-old actor, who’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, announced he was retiring.
“Bob is now looking forward to his retirement with his family, and would greatly appreciate that his privacy be respected at this time,” a rep for Hoskins said in a statement at the time. “He wishes to thank all the great and brilliant people he has worked with over the years, and all of his fans who have supported him during a wonderful career.”