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April 30, 2014

'Mona Lisa' actor Bob Hoskins dies at 71

London — British actor Bob Hoskins, whose varied career ranged from noir drama "Mona Lisa" to animated fantasy "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" has died at 71.

A family statement released Wednesday by publicist Clair Dobbs said Hoskins died in a hospital after a bout of pneumonia. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2012.

A versatile character actor capable of menace, quiet poignancy and Cockney charm, Hoskins appeared in some of the most acclaimed British films of the past few decades, including gangster classic "The Long Good Friday." His Hollywood roles included "Mermaids" and "Hook."

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."

 

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