A diverse résumé of roles varying from the Peter Pan pirate softie Smee in Hook to the ever-complex J. Edgar Hoover in Nixon – the latter of which earned Hoskins a Screen Actor's Guild nomination – made the British-born actor familiar yet unpredictable to moviegoers. Hoskins first caught critics' attentions in the 1980 gangster movie The Long Good Friday and the 1983 country-in-upheaval-themed Beyond the Limit, both of which earned him BAFTA noms.
In the early Eighties, he had bit parts in Pink Floyd – The Wall, The Cotton Club and Brazil, but his breakout came in 1986 when he played an ex-con employed to drive around a prostitute in the noir-tinged mystery Mona Lisa. Hoskins won a number of awards for the role, including Best Actor at the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, and the Cannes Film Festival. He was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for the role but lost to Paul Newman, who had reprised his Hustler character Fast Eddie Felson for The Color of Money that year.
Two years later, Hoskins starred as a down-on-his-luck P.I. named Eddie Valiant hired to locate a fugitive "toon" named Roger Rabbit in the Disney blockbuster Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. The actor's transformation from a hard-nosed, toon-hating alcoholic into a compassionate, concerned anti-hero helped make the film a winner.
Over the next two decades, Hoskins would appear in Mermaids, Hook, Super Mario Bros. (as Mario Mario), Nixon, Spice World, Maid in Manhattan, Mrs. Henderson Presents and more. His final role was portraying Muir, a blind dwarf with the power of premonition, in Snow White and the Huntsman.
In 2012, Hoskins announced that he was retiring from acting upon learning he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
In the announcement of his death, his wife Linda and children, Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack, said in a statement, "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob."