Bob Hoskins, a British actor known for his great range of work which includes films like the noir drama Mona Lisa and the gangster treasure The Long Good Friday, has died at the age of 71. Hoskins was battling pneumonia and died in a hospital, his publicist said on Wednesday. He is survived by his wife Linda and his four children.
Hoskins was known for his versatility, range, and a career that stretched 40 years. Not many actors have a résumé that includes Hook, Nixon, and Mermaids. While critics are quick to cherish and praise the man's more serious work and more solemn cinematic contributions, it's his work on the animated classic, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and all its silliness that might be the most impressive.
Hoskins was a pioneer and his performance on the 1988 film was some 20 years ahead of the industry. On Roger Rabbit, Hoskins had nothing to work with— something that's more common nowadays and a cornerstone of those Hobbit movies.
But talking about Hoskins being ahead of the industry doesn't do him justice, until you actually see the actual nothingness Hoskins was working with. Here's a behind-the-scenes clip of Hoskins on the Roger Rabbit set that features the final product and his pre-effect performance side by side:
Hoskins's commitment to his role, his physical comedy, and sheer imagination in his role as Eddie Valiant was praised by critics. "Hoskins must have a cast-iron imagination to carry off this delicately calibrated interaction with every size and variety of Toon, from a rabbit in his bed, to an 8-foot gorilla looming menacingly over his shoulder, to a seductress with Gloria Grahame's mouth and Jayne Mansfield's silhouette," The Los Angeles' Times Sheila Benson wrote.