Saturday, May 03, 2014

R.I.P., Bob Hoskins

I really intended to write earlier about the death of English actor Bob Hoskins this week, but it's been a busy week for me.

Better late than never, I suppose.

Folks have their own memories of him, and mostly they center on his movie work, I guess. That's understandable. He probably reached more people through his appearances in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and "Hook" than in just about anything else he ever did.

And I don't want to take anything away from that.

But he also reached a lot of people through the medium of television.

Most of his early TV work was in England, but, in the last 15 years or so of his life, he was increasingly a familiar presence on American TV.

He was on Saturday Night Live in 1998 — and, in February 2003, he was a guest star on Frasier, in an episode called "Trophy Girlfriend."

And that is how I remember Bob Hoskins.

It's one of my favorite episodes. Niles had teamed up with someone else in the squash club's annual tournament, so Frasier accepted an invitation to play mixed doubles with a girls P.E. teacher (Jeanne Tripplehorn). Frasier and his partner hit it off, but her job brought back painful memories of an abusive coach from his childhood — and every time he saw her at work, he saw that coach.

Hoskins played the coach.

It got so bad that Frasier saw the coach whenever he saw his girlfriend outside of the P.E. setting as well. My favorite scene was when he was meeting her at Cafe Nervosa. In walked Hoskins, but only Frasier (and the audience) saw him. His father and brother saw Tripplehorn and made comments. Niles raved about her beauty, and Martin cautioned his sons to watch their language because "[t]here's a lady present."

Nope, that was no lady.

Hoskins did most of his TV work in England so I haven't seen most of it, but I've read that he treated his TV work with the same respect he showed to his film work.

That doesn't surprise me. It's consistent with the kind of man I have always thought him to be.

Because of his Parkinson's diagnosis a few years ago, he was retired from acting so his death won't deprive anyone of his performances.

But, sadly, we are deprived of his presence. Rest in peace.