Some folks may well dispute my referring to Bob Hoskins as an idol. But to me that is exactly what he is. I first saw him work in the brilliant low budget gangster film The Long Good Friday. He mesmerized me as the small time hood with big ambitions, Harold Shand was going to move up in the world. At the end of the film, Shand’s face is that of a cornered animal who knows that it has been caught and is going to die. Hoskins performance in that film turned me into an instant fan. For life.
By that point in his career Hoskins had already been working steadily for years. Eight to be exact. He was busy learning his craft and it showed. Like another of my favourite actors, Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins was the ‘real deal.’ Although he was born in my neck of the woods in Suffolk, he learned his acting spurs by doing it, not learning it in some classroom.
Mona Lisa was the next thing I saw him shine in. As George the hapless jailbird who falls in love with the hooker his performance actually made me cry. Moving stuff, especially considering that he’d just finished making me laugh at his performance in Sweet Liberty.
Then adopting an American accent he played gumshoe Eddie Valiant whose partner was murdered by a ‘toon in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.This role not only saw him win the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor, with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor, but also resulted in Bob suffering from a nervous breakdown from exhaustion. The demanding role of Eddie knocked Bob down but not out.
Once again he adopted another American accent to play opposite Cher and Winona Ryder in the popular film Mermaids. Whether Hoskins is making us laugh as Smee in Hook or Neverland or impressing us with his characters ‘hardness’ in Doomsday he never fails to impress. Hoskins is one of those actors that makes you believe that he is the character he”s portraying.
Now after appearing in over 70 films, he’s retiring from the acting world because he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
It is news of the most depressing sort.
He is now a member of that bitterly exclusive club of actors/celebrities who have been stricken by this debilitating disease. His fellow sufferers include Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali. Parkinson’s affects some 127,000 people in the UK and has no known cure.
Michael J. Fox has publicly fought for more education about the disease and increased funding for research to find a cure.
Hoskins has released a public statement saying that he intends to spend more time with his family. He will be sadly missed by his fans, but if anyone has earned a right to retire, it’s Mr Hoskins.
Enjoy your rest Bob, and know that we’re hoping that a cure can be found, not only for you but for the rest of the 127,000 sufferers in the UK and the rest of the world as well.
- Bob Hoskins retires from “wonderful career” as he is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (standard.co.uk)
- Bob Hoskins to retire following Parkinson’s diagnosis (guardian.co.uk)
- Bob Hoskins retires from acting (express.co.uk)
- Actor Hoskins diagnosed with Parkinson’s, retiring (utsandiego.com)
- Bob Hoskins retires from acting (kenilworthweeklynews.co.uk)
- Bob Hoskins: I have Parkinson’s disease (thesun.co.uk)