The Spigot: Bob Hoskins retires due to Parkinson’s
Speaking through his agent, Bob Hoskins announced today that he’s retiring from acting after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Hoskins is 69 years old, and if the man’s filmography of late isn’t as impressive as it was during his career peak in the ‘80s and ‘90s—Snow White and the Huntsman is the last major film he appeared in, regrettably—his presence will still be missed. It kind of already was.
You only have to look at his performance as the out-classed and too-soft gang leader Harold Shand in John Mackenzie’s 1980 film The Long Good Friday (full movie here) to see what a magician Hoskins is (or was) on-screen, but his greatness derives from something bigger than talent. It had to, since Bob Hoskins was largely wasted by Hollywood.
But that’s an old story. Like Albert Finney, Michael Caine, or Brian Cox, Bob Hoskins was your working class Brit made good, and he tended, like the others, to either undervalue his own brilliance or to overvalue the next paycheque. Even then, the human core made any Bob Hoskins performance a thing to behold, and while he was appearing in guff like 2002’s Maid in Manhattan, Hoskins still balanced the artistic ledger every so often with a Felicia’s Journey (1999) or a Last Orders (2000).
Apologies if this reads like an obituary, but Hoskins' retreat from the screen does signal the approaching end of something. Gary Oldman and the mostly MIA Tim Roth are arguably the end of the line for a certain vintage of British actor who was raised in muck, in the best sense, and radiated a kind of real-life heroism because of it. They made the star system look silly; and in Hoskins case, he did it with “a face like squashed cabbage.”
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