Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bob Hoskins - RIP

Bob Hoskins has died. He was 71 years old.

Hoskins had a long history in movies, most often as a character actor or using his unique Cockney accent to play intimidating characters. He was, however, able to breakthrough for a spell as a marketable lead in the late 80's/early 90's. He sadly was forced to end his career two years ago after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. His last film was Snow White and the Huntsman.

Cutting his teeth first on the English theater, Hoskins' career took off after several acclaimed performances for television, most notably as sheet music salesman Arthur Parker in the landmark BBC miniseries Pennies from Heaven. His rugged looks, combined with his gruff power of speech, made him suitable for crime films, especially in the era of neo-noir. His stock rose after three such movies: 1980's The Long Good Friday, 1986's Mona Lisa (still considered his best performance ever), and 1988's groundbreaking blockbuster Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The latter film allowed him to cross the Atlantic and receive more work in Hollywood.

His success as private dick Eddie Valiant led to a couple of leading roles in American pictures. Two notable examples of this feat are the female coming of age drama Mermaids and the maligned video game adaptation of Super Mario Bros.. His tough persona and unconventional demeanor, however, still made him more suitable for supporting roles. Despite being regulated into the background, he still made his lovable mark with audiences in such films as Hook and Maid in Manhattan.

Not contend with just being an actor, Hoskins did try his hand in directing a couple of pictures. He was also able to utilize his voice for animation, in works such as Balto and the television series The Forgotten Toys.

For myself and many others, we will forever associate Hoskins as Eddie Valiant. Whether he was throttling Roger around his trashy abode, trying to measure up to Jessica Rabbit, or firmly able to keep a straight face amid cartoonish anarchy, he was the real soul of the picture. The role made him the biggest movie star on Earth for a fleeting minute, bringing hope to character actors and telling producers off that an actor didn't need to have beautiful looks in order to make film history.

He will be missed.

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