In Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, Eddie is a fictional Californian private detective hired by comic-book star Roger Rabbit to investigate the workings of Roger's corrupt employers, the DeGreasey Brothers. When Roger is found dead, and his final words having been censored out, Eddie is soon sent on the case of tracking Roger's murderers. This first incarnation of Eddie is a heavy smoker, has a beard and is active when the book is set (1981), rather than the later, more accepted incarnation of the character.
Before Bob Hoskins was cast, many A-list actors were up for the role including Eddie Murphy and Harrison Ford who was Spielberg's choice but demanded too high a price. Bill Murray was also in consideration for the role, but ended up not having the opportunity to participate. This regret would lead him to participate in another animation/live-action hybrid film: Warner Brothers' Space Jam.
Eddie has a hard-boiled disposition, coming across as stubborn and cynical. He initially harbors a general distaste for Toons, since his brother, Teddy, was killed by one; since his death, Eddie stopped taking cases for Toons and began drinking heavily. Despite this, he retains his street smarts as well as his knowledge of Toon rules and culture.
Prior to Teddy's death, both brothers were (as shown in pictures) to be extremely fun-loving, and would do anything for a laugh. They were the only known humans who could ever out-funny a Toon.
Underneath his gruff exterior, Eddie proves to be a loyal comrade (aiding Roger in his time of need, despite his own reservations), and harbors a soft spot for his girlfriend, Dolores. By the film's end, he gives up drinking, is finally at peace with Teddy's death when he defeats the evil Judge Doom, and has reconciled with the Toons.
Eddie and his brother, Teddy, were sons of a Barnum and Bailey circus clown (shown by the pictures on their desk in the film), who joined the police force; they graduated from the LAPD in 1925. They eventually started their own private investigation service, Valiant & Valiant, in 1934, working largely on Toon cases such as the kidnapping of Donald Duck's nephews in 1937, and clearing Goofy of accusations of espionage in 1940 (both seen as newspaper clippings in Eddie's office).
However, during another investigation in the early 1940s, he and Teddy were chasing the unknown Toon form of Judge Doom who was robbing the First National Bank of Toontown (the home of all the Toons), during the chase, Doom dropped a large grand piano on them from 15 stories up, Eddie survived, only with a broken arm, but Teddy was killed. After his death, Eddie showed a great dislike for Toons, turned to the bottle, and disappeared from the public eye.
Since turning to alcohol, Eddie became a subject of ridicule among the police force.
In 1947, R.K. Maroon of Maroon Cartoons paid Eddie $100 to photograph Jessica Rabbit, Roger Rabbit's wife, quite literally "playing pattycake" with Marvin Acme, owner of Toontown and founder of the Acme Corporation. When Acme is murdered and Roger becomes the prime suspect of the case, Eddie teams up with Roger to find the killer, and, after a long search, he finds not only Acme's murderer, but the murderer of R.K. Maroon, and his own brother who turns out to be Judge Doom who is a Toon wearing a human mask, attempting to destroy all of Toontown to make a freeway for him to profit retirement from.
According to Roger Rabbit: The Resurrection of Doom, Eddie has given up drinking, but now tends to consume jellybeans quite a bit.
In the non-canon sub-sequel set after the film, Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit?, Eddie is adamant to no longer take any Toon cases but is forced to do so when Baby Herman, Roger Rabbit's costar, is found dead.
- Eddie's hard-boiled attitude seems to derive from Dick Tracy or other such detectives. In the 1988 film, he was made to portray the film noir detective character usually found in Humphrey Bogart or Alan Ladd, while maintaining the Dick Tracy attitude.
- Although little or nothing is heard about the methods employed by Teddy, the items on his side of the desk in shots of the Valiant & Valiant office suggest that he was based more on Sherlock Holmes, judging by the tobacco pipe and magnifying glass on his desk.
- Eddie looks like a composite of Peter Falk of the TV series Columbo and film private eye Philip Marlowe, wearing a shiny brown suit and beat-up fedora above a craggy face.
- Eddie's character is somewhat different in the movie. Rather than being a smoker, he is an alcoholic and having no facial hair whereas, in the novel, he has a beard.
- It should be noted that Bob Hoskins is British and has a Cockney accent, and Eddie was raised in California.
- In early screen tests for the film, Disney veteran Pete Renaday portrayed Eddie.
- Eddie is similar to Lucky Piquel in Bonkers.
- Although Eddie is the overall protagonist and has bigger plans, Roger drives the plot and is more iconic than him.
- Before Hoskins was cast, several other actors were considered for the part of Eddie.
- Harrison Ford was Spielberg's original choice to play Eddie, but he was too expensive for the part.
- Chevy Chase was the second choice to play the character, but he was not interested.
- Bill Murray was also considered for the part, but due to his method of receiving offers for roles, he missed out on it.
- Eddie Murphy was also considered for the role, but reportedly turned down the role, but later regretted it.
- Robert Redford, Jack Nicholson, Sylvester Stallone, Wallace Shawn, Ed Harris, Charles Grodin and Don Lane were also considered.