Bob Hoskins

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Bob Hoskins
Bob hoskins filming ruby blue cropped.jpg
Hoskins during the filming of Ruby Blue (2007)
Born (1942-10-26) 26 October 1942 (age 71)
Bury St Edmunds, West Suffolk, England, UK
Occupation Actor, film director
Years active 1969–2012
Spouse(s) Jane Livesey (1967–1978; divorced; 2 children)
Linda Banwell (1982–present; 2 children)

Robert William "Bob" Hoskins, Jr. (born 26 October 1942) is a retired English actor known for playing Cockneys and gangsters. He has appeared in films such as The Long Good Friday (1980), Mona Lisa (1986), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Mermaids (1990), Hook (1991), Nixon (1995), A Christmas Carol (2009), Neverland (2011), and his final role in Snow White and the Huntsman (2012).

Hoskins was the recipient of the prestigious Prix d'interprétation masculine as well as winning the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama for his role in Mona Lisa (and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor) and an International Emmy Award for best actor for his appearance on BBC One drama The Street in 2009.

Early life[edit]

Hoskins was born in Bury St Edmunds, West Suffolk, the son of Elsie Lillian (née Hopkins), a cook and nursery school teacher, and Robert William Hoskins, Sr., a bookkeeper and lorry driver.[1][2] One of Hoskins' grandmothers was a Romani of the British Romanis.[3] From the age of two weeks old, he was brought up in Finsbury Park, London.[4] Hoskins left school at the age of 15 with a single O-Level and worked as a porter, lorry driver and window cleaner. He worked on a three-year accountancy course but dropped out.[5]


Hoskins' acting career began in 1969 at the Unity Theatre. One evening, he was waiting in the Unity Theatre bar for his friend, the actor Roger Frost, to finish an audition. Whilst drinking at the bar, he was given a script and told "You're next."[6] He got the part, with Frost ending up his understudy. Frost recalled that "Bob was a natural. He just got up on stage and was brilliant."[7] His first major television role was in On the Move (1976), an educational series intended to tackle adult illiteracy, in which he played Alf, a removal man who had problems reading and writing. In the same year, he came to wider attention in the original BBC version of Dennis Potter's drama Pennies from Heaven as sheet music salesman Arthur Parker. Later, he played Iago in Jonathan Miller's BBC Television Shakespeare production of Othello.

Hoskins' performances in British films such as The Long Good Friday (1980) and Mona Lisa (1986) won him the wider approval of the critics and, in the case of the latter, a Cannes Award, Best Actor Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He also delivered comic turns in Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985) and Super Mario Bros. (1993). Hoskins was not initially aware that Super Mario Bros. was based on the popular video game of the same name. His son had asked him what film he was working on, and recognising it, showed Hoskins the video game on the Nintendo video game console. In a 2007 interview with The Guardian, Hoskins spoke of his regret at appearing in Super Mario Bros.. He revealed that despite being praised for his performance on the film, he was extremely unhappy with the film and was greatly angered by his experiences making it, referring to it as the "worst thing I ever did".[2] During the late 1980s and early 1990s he appeared in advertising for the recently privatised companies of British Gas and British Telecom (now BT Group).

Hoskins had a small role as a rock band's manager in the Pink Floyd film The Wall. He was slated to be a last-minute replacement in the film The Untouchables if star Robert De Niro had not decided to play Al Capone. When De Niro took the part, director Brian De Palma mailed Hoskins a cheque for £20,000 with a "Thank You" note, which prompted Hoskins to call up De Palma and ask him if there were any more movies he didn't want him to be in.[8]

Hoskins appeared in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), for which he received a second Golden Globe nomination. Some of Hoskins' other notable appearances include playing opposite Cher in Mermaids (1990), boatswain Smee to Captain Hook in Hook (1991), and as the same character in Neverland (2011), and Uncle Bart, the psychopathic and violent "owner" of Jet Li in Unleashed aka Danny The Dog. He has also performed in several television productions for the BBC, including Dennis Potter's Pennies From Heaven, Flickers, David Copperfield as Wilkins Micawber (1999), and The Wind in the Willows (2006). He played Nikita Khrushchev as a political commissar in the film Enemy at the Gates (2001). He received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Mrs Henderson Presents, a film he also produced with Norma Heyman.

Hoskins has also directed two films, both of which he starred in; The Raggedy Rawney (1988) and Rainbow (1996). In 2009, Hoskins made a return to British television in Jimmy McGovern's drama serial The Street, where he played a publican who stands up to a local gangster. For this role he received his first Emmy when he won Best Actor at the 2010 International Emmys. On 8 August 2012, Hoskins announced his retirement from acting after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Hoskins' father was a communist and brought up Hoskins as an atheist, and Hoskins declared he has no belief.[10] In 1967, aged 25, Hoskins spent a short period of time volunteering in kibbutz Zikim in Israel.[11][12] In an interview, when asked what he owed his parents, he said, "Confidence. My mum used to say to me, 'If somebody doesn't like you, fuck 'em, they've got bad taste.'"[13] When asked which living person he most despised, Hoskins named Tony Blair and claimed that "he's done even more damage than Thatcher".[13] He made light of his similarities with film actor Danny DeVito, who he joked would play him in a film about his life.[13] Hoskins announced his retirement from acting on 8 August 2012, due to his ongoing battle with Parkinson's disease. Hoskins is the father of Alex Hoskins (1968) and Sarah Hoskins (1972) from his first wife Jane Livesey and father of Rosa Hoskins (1983) and Jack Hoskins (1986) with his second wife Linda Banwell. [14]



Year Title Role Notes
1972 Up the Front Recruiting sergeant
1973 The National Health Foster
1975 Royal Flash Police Constable
Inserts Big Mac
1979 Zulu Dawn CSM Williams
1980 The Long Good Friday Harold Shand Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1982 Pink Floyd The Wall Band manager
1983 The Honorary Consul Colonel Perez Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1984 Lassiter Inspector John Becker
The Cotton Club Owney Madden
1985 The Woman Who Married Clark Gable George
The Dunera Boys Morrie Mendellsohn
Brazil Spoor
1986 Sweet Liberty Stanley Gould
Mona Lisa George BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Cannes Film Festival: Best Actor (tied with Michel Blanc in Ménage)
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
London Film Critics Circle Award for Actor of the Year (tied with William Hurt in Kiss of the Spider Woman)
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Valladolid International Film Festival: Best Actor
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
1987 A Prayer for the Dying Father Michael Da Costa
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne James Madden Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit Eddie Valiant Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actor
The Raggedy Rawney Darky Also director
1990 Heart Condition Jack Moony
Mermaids Lou Landsky
1991 The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish Louis Aubinard
Shattered Gus Klein
Hook Smee
The Inner Circle Lavrentiy Beria
1992 Passed Away Johnny Scanlan
Blue Ice Sam Garcia
1993 Super Mario Bros. Mario Mario
The Big Freeze Sidney
1995 Nixon J. Edgar Hoover Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Balto Boris Voice only
1996 Rainbow Frank Bailey Also director
The Secret Agent Verloc
Michael Vartan Malt
1997 Twenty Four Seven Alan Darcy European Film Award for Best Actor
Spiceworld Ginger Spice's disguise
1998 Cousin Bette Cesar Crevel
1999 Parting Shots Gerd Layton
Captain Jack Jack Armistead
Felicia's Journey Hilditch Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
A Room for Romeo Brass Steven Laws
The White River Kid Brother Edgar
David Copperfield Micawber
2000 American Virgin Joey
2001 Enemy at the Gates Nikita Khrushchev
Last Orders Ray "Raysie" Johnson National Board of Review Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble
Nominated — European Film Award for Best Actor (shared with ensemble cast)
2002 Where Eskimos Live Sharkey
Maid in Manhattan Lionel Bloch
2003 The Sleeping Dictionary Henry DVD Exclusive Award for Best Supporting Actor in a DVD Premiere Movie
Den of Lions Darius Paskevic
2004 Vanity Fair Sir Pitt Crawley
Beyond the Sea Charlie Maffia
2005 Unleashed Bart
Son of the Mask Odin Nominated — Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor[15]
Mrs Henderson Presents Vivian Van Damm National Board of Review Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble
Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated — St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Stay Dr. Leon Patterson
2006 Paris, je t'aime Bob Leander Segment: "Pigalle"
The Wind in the Willows Badger
Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Winston Voice only
Hollywoodland Eddie Mannix
2007 Sparkle Vince
Outlaw Walter Lewis
Ruby Blue Jack
Go Go Tales The Baron
2008 Doomsday Bill Nelson
2009 A Christmas Carol Mr. Fezziwig / Old Joe
2010 Made in Dagenham Albert Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor
2011 Outside Bet Percy "Smudge" Smith
2012 Snow White and the Huntsman Muir


Year Title Role Notes
1972 Villains
Play for Today Taxi driver Episode: "The Bankrupt"
1973 Crown Court
New Scotland Yard Eddie Wharton
Softly, Softly: Taskforce Parker
Play for Today Woodbine Episode: "Her Majesty's Pleasure"
1974 Shoulder to Shoulder Jack Dunn
Thick as Thieves Dobbs
Play for Today Blake Episode: "Schmoedipus"
1976 Thriller Sammy Draper
The Crezz Detective Sergeant Marble
1977 Van der Valk Johnny Palmer
Rock Follies of '77 Johnny Britten
1978 On the Move Alf
Pennies from Heaven Arthur Parker Nominated — BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor
1979 Of Mycenae and Men Mr. Taramasalatopoulos
1980 Flickers Arnie Cole
1981 Othello Iago
1983 The Beggar's Opera Beggar
1985 Mussolini and I Benito Mussolini
1985 The Dunera Boys Morrie Mendellsohn Australian mini-series
1994 The Changeling De Flores
World War II: When Lions Roared Winston Churchill
1995–1999 The Forgotten Toys Teddy Voice only
1996 Tales from the Crypt
1998 Saturday Night Live Himself
2000 Noriega: God's Favorite Manuel Noriega Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Don Quixote Sancho Panza
2001 The Lost World Professor George Challenger
2003 Frasier Coach Fuller
The Good Pope: Pope John XXIII Angelo Roncalli / Pope John XXIII
2008 The Englishman's Boy Damon Ira Chance
Pinocchio Geppetto
2009 The Street Paddy Gargan International Emmy Award for best actor
2011 Neverland Smee

Music videos[edit]

Year Artist Song
2007 Jamie T "Sheila"


  1. ^ "Bob Hoskins Biography (1942–)". Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Hattenstone, Simon (3 August 2007). "The Method? Living it out? Cobblers!". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  3. ^ Moline, Karen (1988). Bob Hoskins: An Unlikely Hero. Michigan: Sidgwick & Jackson. p. 201. ISBN 0-283-99508-4. 
  4. ^ Confirmed on Desert Island Discs in November 1988
  5. ^ Farndale, Nigel (2009-11-27). "Bob Hoskins interview: 'My own mum wouldn't call me pretty'". The Telegraph. 
  6. ^ "The Guardian, Saturday 9 October 1999". Guardian. 1999-10-09. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  7. ^ Karen Moline, Bob Hoskins: an unlikely hero, p17, (Sidgwick & Jackson), 1988, ISBN 0283995084, 9780283995088
  8. ^ "'Bob Hoskins paid not to play Capone'". 19 March 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "Bob Hoskins retires from acting". 2012-08-08. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  10. ^ "Bob Hoskins – Celebrity Atheist List". Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  11. ^ Sharrock, David (24 February 2007). "After nearly a century, Israel’s first kibbutz calls time on communism". The Times (UK). Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  12. ^ Stuart, Jan (7 November 1999). "MOVIES Still Breathing Fire BOB HOSKINS dropped out of high school. Joined a circus. Fled to Israel. Then, he discovered acting.". Newsday. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  13. ^ a b c Rosanna Greenstreet (18 June 2011). "Q&A: Bob Hoskins | Life and style". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  14. ^ "BBC News - Bob Hoskins to retire after Parkinson's diagnosis". 2012-08-09. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  15. ^, "26th Annual Razzie Award Nominees for Worst Supporting Actor". Accessed 7 March 2013.

External links[edit]