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British character actor Bob Hoskins died Tuesday night from pneumonia. He was 71.
In a statement picked up by London’s Sky News, Hoskins’ family confirmed that the actor "died peacefully … surrounded by family." They asked fans to honor their respect, and thanked them for their warm wishes.
Hoskins said that he received his first big break by accident, having been mistakenly called to a theater audition. It started him down a professional path that had him acting in feature films, television programs and live theater shows for decades, beginning in 1972. Hoskins has four director credits to his name, including two features: The Raggedy Rawney in 1988; and the family comedy Rainbow, in 1995.
But Hoskins undoubtedly will be remembered for his memorable performance opposite a rascally rabbit in Robert Zemeckis’ groundbreaking 1988 live-animation hybrid, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Playing the perpetually irritated detective Eddie Valiant, Hoskins sold an unusual partnership with a visual effect by treating the corny material with respect. Nowadays, acting along motion-capture is an accepted art. But what Hoskins did at the time was mind-altering.
Hoskins had a taste for family-friendly entertainment. His most recent credit was as Muir in Snow White and the Huntsman. That’s him on Chris Hemsworth’s left.
He played Smee in Steven Spielberg’s Hook, then reprised the role in the 2011 TV series Neverland. Famously, he also played Mario in the cartoonish 1993 adventure, Super Mario Bros.
But Hoskins was a respected thespian, as well, working with great directors such as Oliver Stone (Nixon), Terry Gilliam (Brazil), Mira Nair (Vanity Fair) and Neil Jordan (Mona Lisa, the film that earned Hoskins his first and only Oscar nomination).
Hoskins had announced his retirement from acting in 2012 after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2011. He will be missed by the film community for his many contributions to this lasting art form.