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Bob Hoskins, of 'Roger Rabbit' fame, dies at 71

Bob Hoskins, the British actor who is likely best known for performing in the animated fantasy “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” has died at the age of 71 according to a USA Today report on Wednesday morning. His publicist, Clair Dobbs, released a statement on Wednesday stating that he had had a stint with pneumonia before passing away at a hospital. Two years ago, Hoskins was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Bob Hoskins
Bob HoskinsPhoto by Chris Jackson

Hoskins was a versatile character actor who had covered the field of acting from performing drama in “Mona Lisa” to performing the whimsical “Roger Rabbit” role. He also portrayed characters that ranged from menacing, quiet poignancy, and Cockney charm. He portrayed such characters through the past several decades in films such as “The Long Good Friday,” “Hook,” “Mermaids,” “Nixon,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Neverland,” and his final performance in “Snow White and the Huntsman” (in 2012).

Hoskins’ introduction to acting was an unusual one. As a young man who had dropped out of school at 15, he had been working odd jobs when he was watching an audition one day. Someone handed him a script and asked him to read it. From there, as they say, the rest was history. He got jobs in television and film roles in the 1970s. He gained notoriety locally in Britain – where he was born – on Dennis Potter’s 1978 TV miniseries called “Pennies from Heaven.”

Then, in 1980, the big movie breakthrough for Hoskins came in the form of a thriller called “The Long Good Friday. Hoskins was said to have specialized in tough-guy characters with a “soft center.” That was the type of character he played in Neil Jordan’s 1986 motion picture “Mona Lisa.” For that performance, the actor was nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award. The film that catapulted him to fame, however, was 1988’s “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” In the extremely popular film, Hoskins played a detective investigating cartoon crime. According to ABC News, Hoskins is survived by his wife and children.