Clark Collis
May 09, 2014 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The young Bob Hoskins had no ambitions to become a movie star — or an actor at all. In fact, the British-born Hoskins, who died of pneumonia on April 29 at age 71, got into showbiz by accident, securing a role in a play in the late ’60s while accompanying a friend to an audition. Following an Oscar-nominated performance in 1986’s Mona Lisa, he was cast as the (nonanimated) lead in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and the film’s massive success brought him worldwide fame. Hoskins subsequently appeared in a raft of high-profile projects, from 1990’s Mermaids to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman before retiring that year after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. But the actor’s talents are most abundantly on display in 1980’s The Long Good Friday. He plays London gangster Harold Shand, whose plan to become a legitimate businessman is brutally torpedoed. Hoskins exudes fierce brutality and intelligence — he lets us know Shand is a man desperate to escape through guile, but willing to use violence over “verbals” if that’s what it takes.

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