Accomplished, self-taught, award-winning and extra ordinary, Bob Hoskins is the quintessential “actor’s actor.” His versatility allows him to segue effort lessly between theater, film and television projects. Not content to work only in front of the camera, he also has several filmmaker credits on his esteemed résumé.
Hoskins was born on October 26, 1942, in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, where his mother had been relocated as a result of the Blitz. The young Hoskins left school at 15 but took with him a passion for language, literature and the theater. As a regular theatergoer, the boy had dreamed of a stage-acting career, but before that could be realized, he had to support himself with a series of odd jobs.
Serendipitously, Hoskins accompanied a friend to an audition where he was mistaken for one of the hopeful actors vying for a part. A script hastily in hand, a shove to the stage, and he got the part, quickly acquiring an agent in the process. After some stage success, he began to acquire television roles in such series as Villains and Thick as Thieves, along with smaller roles in such films as John Byrum’s Inserts (opposite Richard Dreyfuss) and Richard Lester’s Royal Flash.
Hoskins’ breakthrough role was as Arthur Parker, the doomed sheet-music salesman with an imaginary life set to popular tunes, in Dennis Potter’s now-iconic British miniseries Pennies From Heaven. Pennies From Heaven received 10 BAFTA nominations, including one for Hoskins for Best Actor. The show won the award for Most Original Programme/Series and was remade into the feature film starring Steve Martin.
A series of high-profile and successful films followed, beginning with his lead role (and true motion-picture debut) in 1980’s The Long Good Friday, opposite Helen Mirren. He also starred in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club, Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and Neil Jordan’s sleeper hit Mona Lisa. Hoskins’ work in Mona Lisa as George, a career criminal who becomes the protector of a high-priced call girl, netted him an Academy Award® Best Actor nomination, along with Best Actor awards from the Cannes Film Festival, the Golden Globes, BAFTA and multiple film critics’ associations.
Hoskins continued to work in a series of prestigious and popular projects, in both feature film and television, including the features Who Framed Roger Rabbit (which garnered him another Golden Globe nomination), Mermaids, Hook, Nixon, Felicia’s Journey and Enemy at the Gates; the series Flickers; and the telefilms Othello, The Beggar’s Opera and Mussolini and I.
Hoskins’ career continues to impress with turns in both big-budget and independent films, including Will; Made in Dagenham; Doomsday; Shane Meadows’ Twenty Four Seven; Des McAnuff ’s Cousin Bette; Fred Schepisi’s Last Orders, a National Board of Review winner for Best Acting by an Ensemble; Wayne Wang’s Maid in Manhattan; Mira Nair’s Vanity Fair; Stephen Frears’ Mrs. Henderson Presents, for which Hoskins received another Golden Globe nomination; and Allen Coulter’s Hollywoodland. His more recent television work includes The Street, Pinocchio, The Wind in the Willows, The Good Pope, David Copperfield, Don Quixote and The Lost World.
Behind the camera, Hoskins wrote and directed the compelling film The Raggedy Rawney, in which he also starred. He also directed and starred in the family comedy Rainbow, and directed episodes for the series Tales From the Crypt and Tube Tales.
This biography/filmography of Bob Hoskins is courtesy of Universal Pictures, Roth Films and Snow White and the Huntsman