Home > Blog, Film > Pete Postlethwaite dies of cancer aged 64, He Was A True Great

Pete Postlethwaite dies of cancer aged 64, He Was A True Great

It is with great sadness that I discovered today that Pete Postlethwaite has passed away. I’m not usually in the habit if posting obituaries here, but he was arguably my favourite actor. Whatever you saw him in he would deliver a superb performance, well perhaps his accent was a but ropey in ‘The Constant Gardener’ but that is perhaps the only instance I can think of.

From In The Name of The Father’s Guiseppe Conlan to Sharpe’s arch-nemesis Obidiah Hakewell he was a marvellous actor capable of playing saints and sinners with equal brilliance. For anyone who thinks that Stephen Spielberg’s assertion that he was “probably the greatest actor in the world” isn’t close to the truth just cast your mind back to 2010’s Inception; 1995’s The Usual Suspects and then consider that this former teacher didn’t start making headway in film acting well into his forties.

For me one of  his greatest pieces of television work was the 2000 drama ‘The Sins’ where he played an undertaker; a role that perfectly balanced Postlethwaite’s often gruff posterior with the delicacy of his acting.

Having starred as a postman in BBC classic ‘Last of The Summer Wine’ in 1978 Postlethwaite would go on to join the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1980’s. In 1992 he had prominent roles in two of my own personal classics, ‘Last of the Mohicans’ with Daniel Day-Lewis and playing a philosophical prisoner in ‘Alien 3’. 

The next year, he would give an Oscar nominated performance alongside Day-Lewis in the magnificent ‘In The Name of The Father’. Anecdotally Postlethwaite  auditioned for the part after reading Gerry Conlon’s book and stayed in character throughout the entire interview.

Spielberg worked with him in 1997 where he played a gun-toting dino hunter in ‘The Lost World’. In my humble opinion he carried that movie in one of his only roles that could be considered that of a leading man.

A list of his entire catalog would include some true classics, and at only 64 I will genuinely miss what he may have come to produce in the future. He is survived by his wife, Jacqui, and their two children.

Pete Postlethwaite 1946-2011

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