Hoskins began getting television and film roles in the 1970s, and came to attention in Britain as star of "Pennies from Heaven," Dennis Potter's 1978 TV miniseries about a Depression-era salesman whose imagination sprouts elaborate musical numbers. It was later turned into a movie starring Steve Martin.
His movie breakthrough came in 1980 thriller "The Long Good Friday," playing an East End gangster hoping to profit from redevelopment of London's docks. It contained one of his most memorable speeches, a Cockney-accented dismissal of American culture: "What I'm looking for is someone who can contribute to what England has given to the world: culture, sophistication, genius. A little bit more than an 'ot dog, know what I mean?"
The film, which also featured Helen Mirren and a young Pierce Brosnan, is ranked 21 in the British Film Institute's list of the top 100 British films of the 20th century.
Hoskins specialized in tough guys with a soft center, including the ex-con who chaperones Cathy Tyson's escort in Neil Jordan's 1986 film "Mona Lisa." Hoskins was nominated for a best-actor Academy Award for the role.
His best-remembered Hollywood role was as a detective investigating cartoon crime in 1988 hit "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," one of the first major movies to meld animation and live action.
He worked in films big and small, mainstream and independent. Some were acclaimed (U.K. underdog hit "Made in Dagenham"), some panned (Spice Girls vehicle "Spice World").
He appeared in Francis Ford Coppola's musical "The Cotton Club," starred alongside Cher in "Mermaids," played pirate Smee in Steven Spielberg's Peter Pan movie "Hook" and was FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover in "Nixon."
In 2012 Hoskins announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and was retiring from acting.
His last role was as one of the seven dwarves in "Snow White & The Huntsman," starring Kristen Stewart.
"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob," said a statement from wife Linda and children Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack.
He is survived by his wife and children.