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Bob Hoskins, 'Roger Rabbit' actor, dies at age 71

April 30, 2014 6:52:36 AM PDT
Bob Hoskins, best known for films like "Mona Lisa" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," has died at the age of 71.

An agent confirmed the British actor died following a bout of pneumonia.

Hoskins, a versatile character actor, appeared in some of the most acclaimed British films of the past few decades, including gangster classic "The Long Good Friday." He received an Oscar nomination for his role in the 1986 film "Mona Lisa," portraying an ex-con who chaperones Cathy Tyson's escort.

Helen Mirren, who starred alongside Hoskins in "The Long Good Friday," called him "a great actor and an even greater man. Funny, loyal, instinctive, hard-working, with that inimitable energy that seemed like a spectacular firework rocket just as it takes off."

"I personally will miss him very much, London will miss one of her best and most loving sons, and Britain will miss a man to be proud of," Mirren said.

Born in 1942 in eastern England, where his mother had moved to escape wartime bombing, Hoskins was raised in a working-class part of north London. He left school at 15, worked at odd jobs and claimed he got his break as an actor by accident - while watching a friend audition, he was handed a script and asked to read.

"I got the lead in the play," Hoskins told the BBC in 1988. "I've never been out of work since."

Hoskins initially worked in theater, but began getting television and film roles in the 1970s. He worked in films big and small, mainstream and independent. Some were acclaimed (U.K. underdog hit "Made in Dagenham"), some panned (Spice Girls vehicle "Spice World").

In the 1988 film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," Hoskins played a detective investigating cartoon crime. The role was considered his Hollywood breakthrough.

Other film credits include "Mermaids," "Hook," "Nixon" and "Snow White and the Huntsman."

Hoskins announced he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and was retiring from acting in 2012.

Hoskins is survived by his wife Linda and children Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack.

"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob," said a statement from wife Linda and children Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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