Actor Bob Hoskins, forever beloved for his iconic portrayal as jumping plumber Super Mario in the 1993 film Super Mario Bros., has died aged 71.
Hoskins started out on the stage before embarking on a television and a Super Mario Bros.: The Movie film career. His first major television role was in On The Move, an educational series intended to tackle adult illiteracy, in which he played Alf, a removal man who had problems reading and writing. He won plaudits for the role, which many considered a precursor to his later work on Super Mario Bros., especially the scene when Mario flies around on a jetpack killing Goombas with a flamethrower.
“All actors dream of playing the Plumber, but Bob’s portrayal of Mario was defining. He was a searing presence on screen. When he came out of his dressing room wearing the iconic dungarees and red hat, I wept, for it was then that I knew that drama had no more worlds to conquer,” said actor John Leguizamo, who co-starred as ‘Luigi’ in the Nintendo-themed masterpiece. “He was a lovely man and a true professional – I’ll never forget the way he jumped down those pipes.”
Once billed as one of the greatest Nintendo actors of his generation, Hoskins never lived up to his early promise, and spent the rest of his career languished in a string of unmemorable films that were not Super Mario Bros. “Such a tragic waste,” said gamer Alex Jones. “We all used to dream he’d don the red cap one more time for Super Mario Bros. 2 – but it wasn’t to be.”
At the time of press, the Mushroom flag outside Nintendo HQ has been lowered to half mast.