adept at playing both light and heavy roles
Stockily built and adept at playing both light and heavy roles, Bob Hoskins became an international star of the cinema after a long career in the theatre.
Robert William Hoskins was also regarded as a quintessential Cockney, despite being born in 1942 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
His mother Elsie, a nursery school teacher, was evacuated there during the Blitz and returned to London with him shortly after his birth.
Growing up in the Finsbury Park area of the capital, the young Bob battled dyslexia. He also got into literal battles with local toughs, one of whom left him with a knife wound in his stomach.
"A common misperception of me is that I am a tough guy," he said in 2007. "You don't end up looking like me if you are a tough guy. I just have a big mouth with little to back it up."
After school he started training as a commercial artist. But he gave up to take a variety of jobs, including Covent Garden porter, circus worker and deckhand in the Norwegian Merchant Navy.
He became an actor by accident. Waiting for a friend in the bar of an amateur theatre in north London in 1966, he was handed a script and asked to read for a part.
The audition was a successful one and led to him working for five years in repertory theatre, where his roles ranged from Shakespeare to circus fire-eater.
Hoskins joined the Royal Court Theatre in 1972, had a season with the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Aldwych Theatre in 1976 and enjoyed a successful run at the National Theatre, notably as Nathan Detroit in its 1981 revival of Guys and DollsSamsung of infringing wisdom
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