An odd-looking but quite fascinating bloke with prominent, bony cheeks and almost a rawboned figure, the distinguished character actor Pete Postlethwaite was born Peter William Postlethwaite in 1946 and grew up in Lancashire, England amid middle-class surroundings. He went to college and while completing his studies developed an interest in theatre, to the chagrin of his family. His father, a labourer, wanted him to find a more secure position in life.
A drama teacher initially, he decided to follow his acting instincts full-time and gradually built up an impressive array of classical stage credits via repertory, including the Bristol Old Vic Drama School, and in stints with Liverpool Everyman, Machester Royal Exchange and the Royal Shakespeare Company. By the 80s he was ready to branch out into film and TV, giving a startling performance as a wife abuser in the British film Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988). His highly distinctive features were subsequently put to good use in a number of versatile roles, usually menacing but sometimes humble, and most frequently as working-class types.
By 1993 he had crossed over into Hollywood parts and earned his first Oscar nomination for his superb role as Daniel Day-Lewis' father in In the Name of the Father (1993). Other quality roles came his way with The Usual Suspects (1995), Brassed Off (1996), and Amistad (1997). Television has been a creative and positive venue as well with fine work in Sharpe's Company (1994) (TV), Lost for Words (1999) (TV) and "The Sins" (2000). Working equally both here and abroad these days, Postlethwaite avoids the public limelight for the most part and lives quietly in England.
Postlethwaite continued on in films with roles in The Shipping News (2001), The Limit (2003), Dark Water (2005), The Omen (2006), Ghost Son (2007) and Solomon Kane (2009). 2010 was a banner film year for the actor with roles in the popular and/or highly acclaimed films Clash of the Titans (2010), Inception (2010) and The Town (2010). Married and the father of two, Postlewaite died on January 2, 2011, at age 64, following a recurrence of the cancer he had battled two decades earlier.
|Jacqueline Morrish||(1987 - 2 January 2011) (his death) 2 children|
Often plays very devious characters
Distinctive gruff voice
He was raised in Northern England.
He formerly taught at a Catholic girl's convent school.
He was awarded OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2004 New Year's Honors List for his services to drama. On 16 November 2009, when the Labour government, of which he had been a lifelong supporter, was contemplating commissioning a coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent, he threatened in a speech to Ed Miliband, then Climate Change Minister, to hand back his OBE if the Government went ahead with their plans.
He once let an agent go after the agent suggested Pete change his last name to something more marquee-friendly.
He is married to a BBC drama assistant and has two children.
Steven Spielberg called him "The best actor in the world".
At the beginning of one hit wonder "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba, it's his voice that says these words from the movie Brassed Off (1996): "Truth is I thought it mattered, I thought that music mattered. But does it bollocks! Not compared to how people matter".
He was listed as a potential nominee on the 2006 Razzie Award nominating ballot. He was listed as a suggestion in the Worst Supporting Actor category for his performance in the film Æon Flux (2005). However he failed to receive a nomination.
His portrait by Christopher Thompson was acquired by The National Portrait Gallery.
Children: William Postlethwaite (b. 1989) and Lily Postlethwaite (b. 1996) with Jacqueline Morrish.
Longtime friend of Sue Johnston.
A political activist, he demonstrated in the streets to oppose the war in Iraq.
Last name is pronounced "POSS-ul-thwait".
Trained as a teacher at St. Mary's University College in London, where he took drama classes.
Youngest of four children born to a Catholic family.
Romantically involved with actress Julie Walters during his years at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool.
One of his biggest fans was Daniel Day-Lewis, who use to watch Postlethwaite perform on stage frequently during his impressionable years as a youngster. It was Day-Lewis who recommended him for the father role in In the Name of the Father (1993).
His plum-like nose was broken when he played rugby as a child and was re-broken after a few barroom brawls as an adult.
At the end of the day, acting is all about telling lies. We are professional imposters and the audience accept that. We've made this deal that we tell you a tale and a pack of lies, but there will be a truth in it. You may enjoy it, or it will disturb you.
It's all in the cheekbones, this career of mine. They are quite whopping, aren't they? Who was it that said, 'He looks like he's got a clavicle stuck in his mouth?'
I refuse to be typecast, and I'll have a go at anything so long as it's different, challenging, hard work and demands great versatility.
My first agent wanted me to change [my name]. So I changed him instead. When I made a breakthrough as an actor, people started to say, 'Who's that bloke with the funny name?' They advised me to change it, saying it would never be put up in lights outside theaters because they couldn't afford the electricity. But I would never contemplate changing it. It's who I am. It's my mother and father, my whole family. It's where everything I am comes from. I couldn't imagine living my life with another name.
[in a speech to Ed Miliband, then Climate Change Minister of the Labour government, on 16 March 2009] If you commission a new dirty coal power station at Kingsnorth, then you are clearly unfit to represent the people of Britain at the Copenhagen Climate Summit, and therefore I promise, very sadly, to return to Her Majesty The Queen the OBE that I was given in 2002, because I don't believe that I can be a real Officer of the British Empire if that's what is going to happen. Unfortunately I would *never* be able to vote for the Labour Party again. And I want you to tell that to the Party.
(November 2005) Now lives on a farm in Minton, near Church Stretton in Shropshire, and is often seen on the local trains, or shopping in and around Church Stretton.
(May 2009) Soho, London, England
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