Hoskins, Bob 1942–
HOSKINS, Bob 1942–
Full name, Robert William Hoskins; born October 26, 1942, in Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk, England; son of Robert (a bookkeeper) and Elsie (a cook; maiden name, Hopkins) Hoskins; married Jane Livesey, 1967 (divorced, 1978); married Linda Banwell (a former schoolteacher), 1982; children: (first marriage) Alex, Sarah; (second marriage) Rosa, Jack. Education: Attended Stroud Green School, Finsbury Park; studied commercial art; studied accounting for three years. Avocational Interests: Photography, listening to music, writing, gardening, playgoing.
Addresses: Agent—Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212; Hutton Management, 200 Fulham Rd., London SW10 9PN, England.
Career: Actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. Heyman–Hoskins Productions, partner; appeared in television commercials for British Telecom; previously worked as a laborer, porter, window cleaner, merchant seaman, circus fire–eater, agricultural worker on a kibbutz in Israel, and truck driver.
Awards, Honors: Film Award nomination, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1978, for Pennies from Heaven; Film Award nomination, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and Evening Standard Best Actor Award, 1982, both for The Long Good Friday; Film Award nomination, best supporting actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1984, for The Honorary Consul; Academy Award nomination, best actor in a leading role, Film Award, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Cannes International Film Festival award, best actor, Boston Society of Film Critics Award, best actor, Golden Globe Award, best actor, ALFS Award, actor of the year, London Critics Circle Film Awards, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, best actor, National Society of Film Critics Award, best actor, New York Film Critics Circle Award, best actor, Valladolid International Film Festival, best actor, 1986, all for Mona Lisa; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picture—comedy/musical, 1989, for Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Evening Standard British Film Award, best actor, 1989, for Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne; European Film Award, best actor, 1997, for TwentyFourSeven; Lifetime Achievement Award, Empire Awards, 1999; Genie Award, best performance by an actor in a leading role, 2000, for Felicia's Journey; Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a miniseries or a motion picture made for television, 2001, for Noriega: God's Favorite; National Board of Review Award (with others), best ensemble performance, European Film Award nomination (with others), best ensemble, 2001, both for Last Orders; Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award, San Sebastian International Film Festival, 2002; DVDX Award, best supporting actor in a DVD premiere movie, 2003, for The Sleeping Dictionary.
Recruiting sergeant, Up the Front, 1972.
Foster, The National Health (also known as The National Health, or Nurse Norton's Affair), Columbia, 1973.
Policeman, Royal Flash, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1975.
Big Mac, Inserts, United Artists, 1976.
Sergeant Major Williams, Zulu Dawn, Warner Bros., 1980.
Harold Shand, The Long Good Friday, Embassy, 1982.
Rock and Roll Manager, Pink Floyd—The Wall (also known as The Wall), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 1982.
Colonel Perez, Beyond the Limit (also known as The Honorary Consul), Paramount, 1983.
Owney Madden, The Cotton Club, Orion, 1984.
Inspector John Becker, Lassiter, Warner Bros., 1984.
George, The Woman Who Married Clark Gable, Set 2 Films, 1985.
Spoor, Brazil, Universal, 1985.
George, Mona Lisa, Island/Handmade, 1986.
Stanley Gould, Sweet Liberty, Universal, 1986.
James Madden, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, Island, 1987.
Father Da Costa, A Prayer for the Dying, Samuel Goldwyn, 1987.
Eddie Valiant, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Buena Vista, 1988.
Darky, The Raggedy Rawney, Island, 1988.
Umpire, Major League, Paramount, 1989.
Jack Moony, Heart Condition, New Line Cinema, 1990.
Lou Landsky, Mermaids, Orion, 1990.
Smee, Hook, TriStar, 1991.
Gus Klein, Shattered (also known as Troubles), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/Pathe, 1991.
Beria, The Inner Circle (also known as Blizhnij krug, Il proiezionista, and The Projectionist), Columbia, 1991.
Louis Aubinard, The Favor, the Watch and the Very Big Fish (also known as La montre, la croix et la maniere and Rue Saint–Sulpice), Trimark Pictures, 1992.
Sam Garcia, Blue Ice, 1992.
Johnny Scanlan, Passed Away, Buena Vista, 1992.
Mario Mario, Super Mario Bros., Buena Vista, 1993.
Sidney, plumber's mate, The Big Freeze, Cine Electra, 1993.
Himself, A Century of Cinema (documentary), 1994.
Voice of Boris the goose, Balto (animated), Universal, 1995.
J. Edgar Hoover, Nixon, Buena Vista, 1995.
Voice of Teddy, The Forgotten Toys, 1995.
Himself, Ding Dong, 1995.
Vartan Malt, Michael, New Line Cinema, 1996.
Frank Bailey, Rainbow (also known as Les voyaguers de l'arc–en–ciel), Vine International Pictures, 1996.
Adolph Verloc, The Secret Agent (also known as Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent), Cabin Fever Entertainment, 1996.
Alan Darcy, TwentyFourSeven (also known as 24 7: Twenty Four Seven), October Films, 1997.
Mayor Cesar Crevel, Cousin Bette, Fox Searchlight Films, 1998.
Himself, Spice World, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 1998.
Joseph Ambrose Hilditch, Felicia's Journey (also known as Le voyage de Felicia), Artisan Entertainment, 1999.
Gerd Layton, Parting Shots, 1999.
Steven Laws, A Room for Romeo Brass, USA Films, 1999.
Brother Edgar, The White River Kid (also known as White River), New City Releasing, 1999.
Let the Good Times Roll, 1999.
Joey, American Virgin (also known as Live Virgin), Sterling Home Entertainment, 2000.
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, Enemy at the Gates (also known as Duell—Enemy at the Gates), Paramount, 2001.
Ray "Raysie" Johnson, Last Orders (also known as Letzte Runde), Sony Pictures Classics, 2001.
Sharkey, Where Eskimos Live (also known as Tam, gdzie zyja Eskimosi), 2002.
Lionel Bloch, Beresford butler, Maid in Manhattan (also known as Made In New York), Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2002.
Henry Bullard, The Sleeping Dictionary, Fine Line, 2003.
Darius Paskevic, Den of Lions, 2003.
Himself, Behind the Ears: The True Story of Roger Rabbit (documentary short film), Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2003.
Pitt the elder, Vanity Fair, Gramercy, 2004.
Charlie Maffia, Beyond the Sea, Lions Gate Films, 2004.
Stay, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2004.
Bart, Unleashed, Rogue Pictures, 2005.
Orin, Son of the Mask, 2005.
Also appeared in That All Men Should Be Brothers.
Director, The Raggedy Rawney, Island, 1988.
Director, Rainbow (also known as Les voyageurs de l'arc–en–ciel), Vine International Pictures, 1996.
Executive producer, The Secret Agent (also known as Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent), Cabin Fever Entertainment, 1996.
Television Appearances; Series:
Knocker, The Villains, LWT, 1972.
George Dobbs, Thick as Thieves, LWT, 1974.
Arthur Parker, Pennies from Heaven, BBC, 1977–1978.
Narrator, Big Jim and the Figaro Club, 1979.
Teddy, The Forgotten Toys, 1998.
Television Appearances; Miniseries:
Jack Dunn, Shoulder to Shoulder, BBC, 1974.
Arnie Cole, Flickers, ATV, 1980.
Micawber, David Copperfield, BBC, 1999, then PBS, 2000.
Professor George Challenger, The Lost World (also known as Die vergessene Welt), BBC and Arts and Entertainment, 2001.
Television Appearances; Movies:
Sexton, If There Weren't Any Blacks …, LWT, 1973.
Mr. Taramasalatopoulos, Of Mycenae and Men, BBC, 1979.
Title role, Sheppey, BBC, 1980.
Eddie Reed, You Don't Have to Walk to Fly, LWT, 1982.
Benito Mussolini, Mussolini: The Decline and Fall of Il Duce (also known as Mussolini and I and Ich und der Duce), HBO, 1985.
Morrie Mendellsohn, The Dunera Boys, 1985.
DeFlores, The Changeling, Bravo, 1994.
Manuel Noriega, Noriega: God's Favorite, Showtime, 2000.
Sancho Panza, Don Quixote, TNT, 2000.
Television Appearances; Specials:
(Television debut) Villains on the High Road, 1972.
Softly, Softly, 1973.
The Gentle Rebellion, 1974.
On the Move, 1975.
Iago, Othello (also known as The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: Othello), BBC, 1981.
The Beggar's Opera, BBC, 1983.
The Trouble with Michael Caine, 1987 of the Secret Policeman, The Secret Policeman's Third Ball, 1987.
Roger Rabbit and the Secrets of Toontown (also known as In Search of Toontown), CBS, 1988.
Michael Caine: Breaking the Mold (also known as Crazy about the Movies), Cinemax, 1991.
Masters of Illusion: The Wizards of Special Effects, NBC, 1994.
Himself, In the Wild: Tigers with Bob Hoskins, 1994.
The 69th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1997.
Himself, RIP 2002 (documentary), Channel 4, 2002.
(In archive footage) Lou Landsky, Cher: The Farewell Tour, NBC, 2003.
Also appeared in And All Who Sail in Her, BBC; On the Road, BBC; Crown Court, Granada; "On Brecht," Omnibus, BBC; Three Piece Suit, BBC; In the Looking Glass, BBC; appeared as Joe Grimaldi, "It Must Be Something in the Water," Omnibus, BBC; Napoleon, Peninsular, BBC.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
"The Bankrupt," Play for Today, 1972.
Woodbine, "Her Majesty's Pleasure," Play for Today, BBC, 1972.
Wharton, "Weight of Evidence," New Scotland Yard, LWT, 1973.
Blake, "Schmoedipus," Play for Today, BBC, 1974.
Sammy Draper, "Cry Terror" (also known as "Kill Two Birds"), Thriller, ABC, 1975.
Johnny Palmer, "Dead on Arrival," Van der Valk, 1977.
Johnny Britten, "The Looney Tunes," Rock Follies of '77, 1977.
Johnny Britten, "The Divorce," Rock Follies of '77, 1977.
Johnny Britten, "The Real Life," Rock Follies of '77, 1977.
"Red Nose Day 3: The Stonker," Comic Relief, 1991.
Late Show with David Letterman, 1995, 1998, 1999.
Lawyer, "A Fatal Caper," Tales from the Crypt (also known as HBO's Tales from the Crypt), HBO, 1996.
Himself, Lo mas plus, 1997.
Saturday Night Live, 1998.
Himself, Parkinson, 1998.
Himself, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, 1998.
Coach Fuller, "Trophy Girlfriend," Frasier, NBC, 2003.
Himself, "Michael Caine," The Hollywood Greats, 2003.
Television Director; Movies:
"My Father the Liar," Tube Tales, British Sky, 1999.
Television Director; Episodic:
"A Fatal Caper," Tales from the Crypt (also known as HBO's Tales from the Crypt), HBO, 1996.
(Stage debut) Peter, Romeo and Juliet, Victoria Theatre, Stoke on Trent, England, 1969.
Pinchwife, The Country Wife, Century Theatre, London, 1970.
The Baby Elephant, Theatre Upstairs, London, 1971.
Uriah Shelley, Man Is Man, Royal Court Theatre, London, 1971.
Lenny, The Homecoming, Hull Arts Center Theatre, 1971.
Title role, Richard III, Hull Arts Center Theatre, 1971.
Bernie the Volt, Veterans, Royal Court Theatre, 1971.
Butcher Brunt, Cato Street, Young Vic Theatre, London, 1971.
Azdak, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Northcott Theatre, Exeter, England, 1971.
Soldier, Lear, Royal Court Theatre, 1971.
Title role, King Lear, Dartington Hall Theatre, 1972.
Sextus Pompeius, Antony and Cleopatra, Bankside Globe Theatre, London, 1973.
Geography of a Horse Dreamer, Royal Court Theatre, 1974.
Doolittle, Pygmalion, Albert Theatre, London, 1974.
Touchstone, As You Like It, Oxford Playhouse, 1974.
Bill Cracker, Happy End, Oxford Playhouse, then Lyric Theatre, London, 1974–1975.
Rocky, The Iceman Cometh, Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldwych Theatre, London, 1976.
Borkov, Ivanov, Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldwych Theatre, 1976.
Sergeant, The Devil's Disciple, Royal Shakespeare Company, Aldwych Theatre, 1976.
Jake, England, England, Jeannetta Cochrane Theatre, London, 1977.
The World Turned Upside Down, Cottesloe Theatre, London, 1978.
Joe Veriatio, Has Washington Legs?, Cottesloe Theatre, 1978.
Bosola, The Duchess of Malfi, Manchester Royal Exchange, The Roundhouse Theatre, London, 1981.
Lee, True West, National Theatre, London, 1981.
Nathan Detroit, Guys and Dolls, National Theatre, 1982.
Old Wicked Songs, 1996–1997.
Also appeared as Hiring, The Anniversary, Century Theatre; Menelaus, The Trojan Woman, Hull Arts Center Theatre; Common Man, A Man for All Seasons, Manchester 69 Company; Marker, A View from the Bridge; Iago, Othello.
(With Nicole De Wilde) The Raggedy Rawney, Island, 1988.
International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, 4th edition, St. James Press, 2000.
Moline, Karen, Bob Hoskins: An Unlikely Hero, 1988.
Newsmakers 89, Gale, 1990.
New York Times, April 16, 1982; June 20, 1982; June 8, 1986.
New York Times Magazine, December 6, 1987, pp. 52, 54, 56–68.
Nationality: British. Born: Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, 26 October 1942. Education: Attended Stroud Green School, Finsbury Park, London. Family: Married 1) Jane Livesey (divorced), two children; 2) Linda, two children. Career: Worked in a variety of jobs, then became actor with the Unity Theatre, London; later theater work for the Royal Court Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, 1976, and the National Theatre, including Guys and Dolls, 1982; 1972—film debut in Up the Front; 1974—in TV mini-series Shoulder to Shoulder, Pennies from Heaven, 1978, Flickers, 1981; 1987—directed first film, The Raggedy Rawney (released 1990). Awards: Best Actor Awards from Cannes Festival, New York Film Critics and Los Angeles Film Critics, and British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Actor, for Mona Lisa, 1986. Agent: Hutton Management Ltd., 200 Fulham Road, London SW10 9PN, England.
Films as Actor:
Up the Front (Kellet) (as recruiting sargeant)
The National Health (Gold) (as Foster)
Inserts (Byrum) (as Big Mac)
Royal Flash (Lester)
Zulu Dawn (Hickox) (as Sgt. Maj. Williams)
The Long Good Friday (Mackenzie) (as Harold Shand)
Othello (Jonathan Miller—for TV) (as Iago)
Pink Floyd—The Wall (Alan Parker) (as rock 'n' roll manager)
The Honorary Consul (Beyond the Limit) (Mackenzie) (as Colonel Perez)
The Cotton Club (Francis Ford Coppola) (as Owney Madden); Lassiter (Roger Young) (as Becker)
Brazil (Gilliam) (as Spoor); The Dunera Boys (Lewin); Io e il duce (Mussolini and I) (Negrin—for TV) (as Mussolini)
Mona Lisa (Neil Jordan) (as George); Sweet Liberty (Alda) (as Stanley Gould)
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (Clayton) (as James Madden); A Prayer for the Dying (Hodges) (as Father Da Costa)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (Zemeckis) (as Eddie Valiant)
Heart Condition (Parriott) (as Jack Mooney); Mermaids (Benjamin) (as Lou Landsky)
Shattered (Petersen) (as Gus Klein); The Favor, the Watch, and the Very Big Fish (Lewin) (as Louis Aubinard); Hook (Spielberg) (as Smee); The Inner Circle (Konchalovsky) (as Beria)
Passed Away (Peters) (as Johnny Scanlan); Blue Ice (Mulcahy) (as Sam García)
Super Mario Bros. (Morton and Jankel) (as Mario Mario)
Nixon (Oliver Stone) (as J. Edgar Hoover); Balto (Wells—animation) (as voice of Boris); Ding Dong (Todd Hughes) (as himself)
The Secret Agent (Hampton) (as Mr. Verloc, +co-pr); Michael (Ephron) (as Vartan Malt)
Spice World (Spiers) (as himself); 24 7: Twenty Four Seven (TwentyFourSeven) (Meadows) (as Alan Darcy)
Parting Shot (Winner) (as Gerd Layton); Captain Jack (Young) (as Jack); The Forgotten Toys (Ralph—for TV) (as Teddy); Cousin Bette (McAnuff) (as Cesar Crevel)
A Room for Romeo Brass (Meadows) (as Home Tutor); Live Virgin (Marois) (as Joey Quinn); Let the Good Times Roll (Ibelhauptaite); Felicia's Journey (Egoyan) (as Joseph Ambrose Hilditch); David Copperfield (Curtis) (as Mr. Micawber—for TV); From Star Wars to Star Wars: The Story of Industrial Light and Magic (Kroll) (as himself); The White River Kid (Glimcher) (as Brother Edgar)
Don Quixote (Yates) (as Sancho Panza —for TV); Noriega: God's Favorite (Spottiswoode) (role—for TV); American Virgin (Live Virgin) (Marois) (as Joey); Enemy at the Gates (Annaud) (as Kruschev)
Films as Director:
The Raggedy Rawney (produced in 1987) (+ ro as Darky, co-sc)
Rainbow (+ro as Frank Bailey)
Tube Tales (with Gaby Dellal—for TV)
By HOSKINS: articles—
Interviews in Time Out (London), 12 October 1985 and 23 November 1988.
Interview in Film Directions (Belfast), vol. 8, no. 32, 1986.
Interview with D. Hill, in Stills (London), March 1987.
Interview in Première (Paris), June 1988.
Interview in Interview (New York), February 1990.
Interview in Time Out (London), 23 June 1993.
Interview in Time Out (London), 13 November 1996.
On HOSKINS: book—
Moline, Karen, Bob Hoskins: An Unlikely Hero, London, 1988.
On HOSKINS: articles—
Hitchens, Christopher, "Tough Guys Do Dance," in American Film (Washington, D.C.), September 1987; see also January/February 1989.
Denby, David, "England's Little Big Man," in Premiere (New York), April 1989.
Current Biography 1990, New York, 1990.
* * *
Britain can boast precious few contemporary film stars with the screen presence to bring off that extraordinary, seemingly endless final shot in The Long Good Friday in which London gang boss Harold Shand is captured at the doors of the Savoy by the very IRA gang he believes he has just liquidated, and driven through the streets of the West End to an uncertain, but undoubtedly unpleasant, fate. If ever there was an illustration of Hoskins's remark that "the camera can see you think" then this is it. Indeed his whole incarnation of Shand in The Long Good Friday amply justifies director John Mackenzie's description of Hoskins as "the most exciting, explosive natural film acting talent that [Britain] has produced in years."
Hoskins's roles, and especially that of Shand, are often memorable for their Cagneyesque sense of barely suppressed violence, their sense of seething passions simmering just beneath the surface of working class resentment. But what is sometimes overlooked is his ability to incarnate ordinary, everyday people and, more to the point, to do so in a way that makes them compulsively interesting, watchable, and endearing. This was one of the reasons which made the television mini-series Flickers, about the early days of British cinema, and Pennies from Heaven (infinitely preferable in every way to the feature film version) such memorable experiences and, doubtless, such milestones in Hoskins's acting career. As Kenith Trodd, the producer of the latter, put it, "because [Hoskins's character] Arthur Parker was an Everyman figure he had to be both very squalid and very identifiable. He had to be loved, despised and pitied, and Bob had the quality to get that over." The novelist and screenwriter William Boyd has also picked up on this quality in the actor; remarking on his "gritty ordinariness" and "potent banality" he notes that he has "an ability to play the ordinary man with a kind of tender veracity which is unrivaled."
It should also be pointed out that Hoskins has by no means confined himself to roles such as these (although he brings many of the same qualities to them)—one has only to think of his gruff but fatherly doomed sergeant major in Zulu Dawn (writer-producer Cy Endfield's "prequel" to Endfield's smash hit Zulu); his portrayal of real-life gangster Owney Madden in The Cotton Club (a supporting performance that stole the film out from under its more famous star, Richard Gere); his Irish priest in A Prayer for the Dying; the neurotic Jewish screenwriter in Sweet Liberty; the fruity, power-mad J. Edgar Hoover in Stone's Nixon; the low-key but villainous spy in The Secret Agent (a more faithful rendering of the Joseph Conrad novel on which Hitchcock's classic Sabotage was also based); and especially the vulnerable, suffering character playing opposite Maggie Smith in The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne to realize just how versatile and adaptable an actor Hoskins actually is. And even if, in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Hollywood presented us with a rather different Hoskins to the inimitable Arthur Parker of Pennies or the lovable Cockney rogue who falls for a London streetwalker of Mona Lisa, both films are a remarkable testimony to Hoskins's tremendous screen presence. Many other actors would have disappeared beneath the elaborate special effects of a Roger Rabbit, whereas Hoskins not only remains triumphantly visible, he shines.
The same is true of Hoskins's performance as the cartoonish pirate Smee, aide to Dustin Hoffman's insufferably mugging title character, in Spielberg's Hook. All but Hoskins seem swallowed up in this gargantuantly bloated—and remarkably tedious—variation on the J. M. Barrie fable Peter Pan. Even Hoskins's performance in Super Mario Bros., a feature film based on—of all things—a video game, has much to recommend it, although apart from the obvious money factor, why an actor of Hoskins's gifts would consent to appear in like this and Spice World (the cinematic debut and swan song of the flashin-the-pan British all-girl rock band The Spice Girls) is a mystery.
Only Hoskins's turn in the television docudrama World War II: When Lions Roared evidenced the possibility that occasionally a role may indeed be beyond his versatile grasp. His performance as Churchill, especially when contrasted with Michael Caine's remarkably well-realized Stalin, was more caricature of the man than realistic portrait.
Despite such lapses of taste in choosing projects such as the aforementioned Hook, Super Mario Bros. and Spice World, Hoskins' star power has not been diminished, and he's used it off and on to help resurrect the moribund British film industry by producing and/or writing and directing home grown productions of his own — such as The Raggedy Rawney, a labor of love for Hoskins that took several years to find a distributor, but was, unfortunately, not a financial success outside of its native land. He has also used his stature in the industry as a versatile character actor capable of carrying a film on his shoulders to help get works with seemingly limited commercial potential of other filmmakers off the ground, as with Canadian director Atom Egoyan's Felicity's Journey. Hoskins' star turn here as an Everyman on the outside and serial killer on the inside involved in a subdued but tense game of cat-and-mouse game with the young runaway he's targeted as his next victim earned the unorthodox superstar his best notices since the halcyon days of The Long Good Friday and Mona Lisa.
—Julian Petley, updated by John McCarty