Actor Bob Hoskins Dead at 71

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(LONDON) — Bob Hoskins, the veteran British actor best-known to U.S. audiences for his roles in hit films including Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Mermaids, has died of pneumonia at age 71. Hoskins’ agent initially revealed news of the actor’s death.

A family statement Wednesday morning said, “Bob died peacefully at hospital last night surrounded by family, following a bout of pneumonia.”

In August 2012, the BBC reported Hoskins had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and had consequently decided to retire from acting after more than 40 years. Hoskins’ final film role was in 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman.

Born October 26, 1942 to working-class parents in Bury St. Edmunds, England, about an hour northeast of London, Hoskins dropped out of school at age 15, working various jobs before turning to acting in his late twenties.  He found steady work in film and television both, his short but rugged stature and cocky sensibility earning him regular roles in both crime dramas and comedies.  His role as an ex-con working as a driver for a call girl in the 1986 drama Mona Lisa earned Hoskins widespread accolades, including the Golden Globe for best actor, and an Oscar nomination for same.

Yet it was his role as the tough-talking, ‘toon-loving, on-the-skids private eye Eddie Valiant in 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit that brought Hoskins the most fame and notoriety.  The movie, which mixed live-action and animation, was an international smash hit, and garnered Hoskins a Golden Globe best actor nomination.  Two years later, he starred opposite Cher and Winona Ryder in the hit comedy-drama Mermaids.

Hoskins’ prolific film, television and stage output continued until 2012, when he announced he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was retiring.  A statement from his agent reported at the time by the BBC said Hoskins “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.”

Hoskins is survived by his wife and four children.

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