Dame Helen leads Hoskins tributes

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Tributes have been paid to Bob Hoskins, who died at the age of 71 Tributes have been paid to Bob Hoskins, who died at the age of 71

Dame Helen Mirren has paid tribute to her big-screen "brother" Bob Hoskins, who has died aged 71.

The actor, whose career included starring roles in Mona Lisa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and opposite Dame Helen in the classic London gangland thriller The Long Good Friday, died from pneumonia.

His agent, Lindy King, released a statement from his family saying he died in hospital on April 29.

His wife, Linda, and children, Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack, said: "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob.

"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."

The star, who landed a best actor Oscar nomination for Mona Lisa, retired from screen work in 2012 after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, saying he had enjoyed "a wonderful career".

Dame Helen, who also appeared in Last Orders opposite Hoskins, said: "Bob was 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.

"When I worked with him on his iconic film The Long Good Friday, he was supportive and unegotistic. He was never sexist, when many around at that time were. I had the honour of watching the creation of one of the most memorable characters of British film.

"I watched his brilliant Bosola in The Duchess Of Malfi, and then had the greatest of pleasures in playing again opposite him in the film Last Orders. Playing again with him was like playing a duet with a brother I had grown up with, which professionally I had.

"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."

Speaking at the Battersea Power Station Annual Party, Hobbit actor Luke Evans said of Hoskins: "He was one of the British greats long before any of us were even thinking about acting or even around. He put a large stamp on Hollywood for us British actors and it's a very sad day, he was a wonderful actor."

David Morrissey also paid tribute at the event: "He was a great, great actor. I was only talking about him yesterday.

"There's a great scene at the end of The Long Good Friday, where he's in the car and it's the whole film plays out on his face. And I always remember that scene.

"But then years later I saw him doing a lecture in the National Film Theatre, and he said in that lecture that that was his first day at work, that he hadn't done anything else on the film, that was the first day.

"And it just made me admire him even more that on his first day he was able to bring that character to life, that emotion - the whole film is in that last scene.

"He touched you. He was a real person, he was a person who I always identified with. He was never less than true."

Hollywood actor James Woods, who starred with Hoskins in the 1995 drama Nixon where the Londoner played FBI boss J Edgar Hoover, said: "Oh man, what a terrible loss. A great guy and a superb artist."

Fellow Tinstletown legend Samuel L Jackson spoke of his sadness at the news, saying: "Truly saddened by the passing of Bob Hoskins! A truly Gigantic talent & a Gentleman. R.I.P."

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