Thursday, August 9, 2012


Bob Hoskins Retires Due to Parkinson’s; Has Played Compassionate Tough Guys in UK and US




PHOTO : Reuters) Hoskins in Venice in 2006
British actor Bob Hoskins announced yesterday that he is retiring from acting after receiving a Parkinson's Disease diagnosis.

Hoskins, 69, has had a prolific career on both sides of the Atlantic, something that would not perhaps have been predicted when he started out.

The actor, who stands no more than 5-feet-6 and has never been called handsome ("My own mum wouldn't call me pretty," he told The Telegraph in 2009), grew up in a working class London family. He is of one-quarter Romani descent. He ceased going to school full-time at age 15 and worked odd jobs until landing a part in a play in his late 20s.

During the 1970s, he appeared on camera largely in TV roles and small roles in film. He gained wide attention in 1986's Mona Lisa, playing an ex-con adrift in a violent London - the sort of tough but vulnerable salt-of-the-earth character he has specialized in throughout his career.

He played another such character in 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit, where he demonstrated the excellent American accent that has won him numerous American roles. Among these were Cher's love interest in Mermaids and a racist cop in Heart Condition (both 1990), and real-life Hollywood studio executive Eddie Mannix in Hollywoodland (2006).

Hoskins has the ability to disappear into characters, and other historical figures he has played include Benito Mussolini in Mussolini and I (a 1985 TV movie), J. Edgar Hoover in Nixon (1995), Manuel Noriega in Noriega: God's Favorite (another TV movie, made in 2000), and Nikita Krushchev in Enemy at the Gates (2001).

Recent credits include a sympathetic government security chief in 2008's Doomsday, and one of Snow White's dwarves in this year's Snow White and the Huntsman. He has also appeared in numerous British literary adaptations, including 1999's David Copperfield, 2006's The Wind in the Willows, and 2009's A Christmas Carol.

Though Hollywood long ago took to Hoskins, he told The Telegraph that he could never have raised his children there; and has always made his home in London (he has been married to his second wife since 1982, and has two children by her and two by his first wife, from whom he was divorced in 1978).

If Hoskins's illness proves more manageable than he seems to expect, there will surely be work waiting for him in Britain and America should he return to acting.


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