Pete Postlethwaite

British actor Pete Postlethwaite passed away today, age 64. His death has come as a shock to many, including myself, but evidently – though information at this point in time is scarce – Postlethwaite’s death came at the end of a long battle with cancer.

According to the BBC:

Journalist and friend Andrew Richardson said Postlethwaite, who was made an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 2004, died peacefully in hospital in Shropshire after a lengthy illness.

Postlethwaite began work as an professional actor in 1975 and went on to chalk up a huge variety of film and TV projects, many of them high impact supporting characters. His most memorable roles include his Oscar nominated performance in In the Name of the Father (1993) and parts in The Usual Suspects (1995) and Romeo + Juliet (1996).

More recently Postlethwaite appeared in the dopey Australian comedy Strange Bedfellows (2004), played a doctor with a crisis of conscience in the terrific corporate thriller The Constant Gardener (2005) and had bit parts in The Omen (2006), Inception (2010) and The Town (2010).

In 2009 he performed against type as “The Archivist” in The Age of Stupid, an intruiging documentary about climate change framed in a fictional context in which Postlethwaite played the last human being on Earth.

His weather-beaten face told a thousand stories and his presence in any movie, in any scene, was felt. “High impact” are good words to describe Postlethwaite’s career.

When the news broke that Postlethwaite had passed, I asked my followers on Twitter to send me their tributes. I have pasted them below. A flood of them came through within minutes.

@nicheath: I was hoping it was a hoax. Great actor.

@pinknantucket: He made a good villain.

@prestontowers: Every single time Postlethwaite entered a film, he entered whichever character he was supposed to be without being Pete.

@crushtor: He was one of those actors that attracted you to the film, regardless of subject or genre. Just had a strange charisma.

@jovianshadow: Pete was one of my favourites. From Aliens 3 to The Usual Suspects, he proved he could fill any roll!

@jasejtaylor: A fine actor. One of my favourite performances was that of Sgt. Hakeswill in the ‘Sharpe’ series of telemovies.

@kissability: Pete Postlethwaite was a class act – I loved watching him act, so commanding, even when only in supporting roles.

@terric68: thought he was fantastic. saw him most recently in The Town. v.convincing as local Mr Big.

@carolduncan: In The Name Of The Father is one of my fave movies.

@jdub: Postlethwaite had incredible presence, range, *and* made brilliant choices when it came to roles and films.

@zuzu: Pete was fabulous in In the Name of the Father. Unique talent. Too too young to go. Sad loss of great actor.

@nicoheath: Re Pete Postlethwaite, nothing poignant to say but first noticed him in Romeo & Juliet, which I loved as a teen & still do.

@icestorm77: A great supporting actor. I have the sense he’s the kind of actor who few will know by name but everyone will know by face.

@gerardelson: He’s poaching tyrannosaurs in heaven now. (Seriously though, he’ll be missed. Makes his deathbed-bound not-quite…swan song in Inception all the moore ooky now. Was only thinking after The Town how underused he’d been of late.)

@lucidingo: who can forget Kobayashi in The Usual Suspects. RIP Pete.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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