January 3, 2011–Pete Postlethwaite, the brilliant British actor, has died at the age of 64. He had been suffering from cancer.
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Postlethwaite’s 40-year career encompassed stage and screen and TV.
He worked with Steven Spielberg twice, in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “Amistad.” Postlethwaite was Oscar nominated for supporting actor in Jim Sheridan’s political picture “In the Name of the Father,” playing one of four men wrongly accused of planting an IRA bomb, the so-called Guildford Four.
He was almost as well known for his political activism as he was for his considerable acting talents. Postlethwaite starred in the climate change film “The Age of Stupid,” arriving at the premiere on a bicycle. He was a vocal opponent of the Iraq war and a supporter of the Make Poverty History campaign.
Born to a Catholic family in Warrington in the North of England, Postlethwaite had planned to become a priest. But after working as a teacher, he was drawn to the stage, and began his acting career touring pubs in a theater group alongside then girlfriend Julie Walters.
Early roles in the 1970s included work at Liverpool‘s Everyman Theater, where he collaborated with other future luminaries such as Bill Nighy, Alan Bleasdale and Jonathan Pryce.
Postlethwaite’s screen work started with small roles in such high-profile British TV skeins as “Coronation Street,” “Minder” and “Casualty.”
Minor parts in “The Last of the Mohicans” and “Alien 3” followed, but it was 1993’s “In the Name of the Father” that gave him international kudos.
Other parts that came in the wake of “In the Name of the Father” were a role in “The Usual Suspects” and playing the priest, Father Laurence, in Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
Postlethwaite also starred in the British film “Brassed Off,” which focused on the struggles of an English mining community and its brass band.
More recent film roles included “The Constant Gardener,” based on John Le Carre’s novel of the same name, and “Inception.”
Postlethwaite returned to the Everyman Theater in 2008 to play the lead in King Lear. It was a role he had always wanted to do. Afterwards he said that the Everyman had been “where I started really, or where I realized that being an actor wasn’t just a flippant job.”