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LONDON -- British actor Bob Hoskins, who starred in films such as "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," has died of pneumonia at the age of 71, his family said Wednesday.

"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob," his wife, Linda, and children Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack said in a statement. "Bob died peacefully at hospital last night surrounded by family, following a bout of pneumonia.

"We ask that you respect our privacy during this time and thank you for your messages of love and support," they continued.

The film star, who was Oscar-nominated for best actor for his portrayal of a petty criminal in the 1986 crime drama "Mona Lisa," had retired two years ago after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

He was born on Oc. 26, 1942 in the southern English county of Suffolk, where his mother, a nursery school teacher, had been evacuated during the World War II bombing of London. His father was a lorry driver and bookkeeper.

Hoskins left school at 15 and began to do odd jobs, including a spell as a circus performer.

Though a passionate theatergoer, his acting career was only kick-started by a misunderstanding -- he had gone to watch auditions with a friend when he was given a script and told "You’re next." But he impressed and won the leading role, which led on to other work on television and in film, including the 1978 BBC drama "Pennies from Heaven," for which he was nominated for a BAFTA.


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It was his role as London gangster Harold Shand in the 1980 film "The Long Good Friday," co-starring Helen Mirren, that launched his career as a film star.

He went on to play key parts in the 1990 film "Mermaids," opposite Cher, as well as taking on other roles in films such as "Nixon," "Hook," "Super Mario Brothers," "Enemy at the Gates" and "Vanity Fair."

His last film credit was in "Snow White and the Huntsman" in 2012.

He was infamous for having been on standby to play Al Capone in Brian De Palma’s "The Untouchables," a part that went to Robert De Niro.

De Palma gave Hoskins a large check in compensation, and the actor joked afterwards: "I phoned him up and I said ‘Brian, if you’ve ever got any films you don’t want me in, son, you just give me a call.’ "