Parkinson's Disease Forces Actor Bob Hoskins to Retire

LONDON, Aug. 8 (UPI) — Britain’s Bob Hoskins announced Wednesday he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease and is retiring from acting at the age of 69.

Hoskins has starred in dozens of films, including “Snow White and the Huntsman,” “Mrs. Henderson Presents,” “Neverland,” “Enemy at the Gates,” “Maid in Manhattan,” “Hook,” “Mermaids,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “The Long Good Friday” and “Mona Lisa,” as well as the TV series “The Street.”

“He wishes to thank all the great and brilliant people he has worked with over the years, and all of his fans who have supported him during a wonderful career,” his agent said in a statement issued to the BBC. “Bob is now looking forward to his retirement with his family, and would greatly appreciate that his privacy be respected at this time.”

The actor said at a 2002 roundtable interview with reporters to promote the romantic comedy “Maid in Manhattan” that he never realized how short he was until he worked with statuesque actress Cher on the 1990 comedy “Mermaids.”

“I didn’t (know),” insisted Hoskins, whom says is 5-foot-6. “I thought I was normal. I never thought about it and then I went to kiss Cher and they gave me a box to stand on … and then I realized when Cher said, ‘You’re a little guy, Bob.'”

The bright side to his height, he noted, was it led to lots of jobs playing historical characters like Nikita Khruschchev, Manuel Noriega, J. Edgar Hoover and Pope John XXIII.

Asked if he opted to take the part opposite Jennifer Lopez in “Maid in Manhattan” because he was afraid of being typecast, Hoskins told United Press International at the roundtable back in 2002: “I’ve played so many historical characters because most horrible dictators are short, fat middle-aged men. … [Other than] me and Danny DeVito there isn’t a lot of competition.”

He also said he signed on to play the role of a hotel butler who acts as a father figure to Lopez’s maid because he loved the idea of playing a small role in a big, fun project.

“I’ve really served my time,” he explained. “When you get to my age, what you want is the cameo. You get paid a lot of money. You fly in for a couple of weeks. Everybody treats you like the crown jewels. It’s all great and if the film turns out to be a load of s—, nobody blames you.”