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Oscar nominee Pete Postlethwaite dies at 64 [Updated]

Oscar-nominated British actor Pete Postlethwaite, described by director Steven Spielberg as "the best actor in the world," has died in Shropshire in western England at 64 after a long battle with cancer.

[Updated 2:05 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said Postlethwaite died in London.]

Journalist Andrew Richardson, a longtime friend of the actor, said Monday that Postlethwaite died Sunday in a hospital.

A gritty and powerful actor, Postlethwaite was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the 1993 Postlethwaite-blog film "In the Name of the Father." He had recently been seen in the critically acclaimed film "Inception" and had worked with Spielberg on "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" and "Amistad."

Postlethwaite initially planned to become a priest but was drawn to acting.

He received an OBE in 2004, along with many other honors for his long career in movies, theater and television.

Postlethwaite lived in the hills of rural Shropshire, in western England. He was a political activist known for his opposition to the recent war in Iraq and his call for policies to fight global warming.

He recently had returned to the stage to star as King Lear.

The actor had been treated at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. Shortly before his death, he publicly thanked the hospital staff in the Shropshire Star newspaper for their "wonderful" treatment and care during his illness.

He is survived by his wife, Jacqui, his son, Will, and daughter, Lily.

-- Associated Press

[Update 6:51 p.m.: The Times' staff-written obit on Postlethwaite can be found here.]

Photo: Pete Postlethwaite with Sophia Loren in 2002. Credit: Myung Jung Kim / Associated Press

 

 
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Comments (46)

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Postlethwaite was also excellent in the role of an Irish Mob Boss recent film, "The Town."

What a great actor he was!

This man was a class act, on the stage, on the screen, and in life.

This one really hurts....bless him.

This actor was in at least a dozen awesome movies! Great character actor that brought a lot of credibility to the table! God Bless and immortal on celluoid...

He was a great character actor.

I was lucky enough to see him live in several RSC productions. He was a lovely actor with a gentle presence that drew the eye.

What a loss. Pete Postlethwaite added so much texture to any film he was in.

Mr Postlethwaite was one of those character actors where you never knew what kind of part he was playing. He could be good, bad...you didn't know which he was until you actually watched the movie.

To name but a few roles, he was the monk in Dragonheart, the obnoxious assistant to the owner of the only newspaper, the Gammy Bird, in The Shipping News, and as Mr Kobayashi in the quirky The Usual Suspects. Three very different roles, but roles that he made his own.

You'll be sorely missed Mr Postlethwaite. Rest in peace, and my deepest condolences to your family. The movies won't be the same without you.

I can say without a hint of exaggeration that he was truly one of the greatest actors in recent memory.

Most would do just about anything to give a performance on the level of Mr. Postlethwaite's in "In the Name of the Father". You got the feeling it would have taken just about everything he had to for him to give us less.

Pete Postlewaite blew me away with his portrayal in In the Name of Father. He really deserved an Oscar for that. I was in shock to learn he wasn't Irish after I saw that film. And of course, he was "Kobayashi" in The Usual Suspects. What a master of accents he was. I would agree with Spielberg - greatest actor in the world.

RIP.

What a tragic loss! Just watched "The Town" and he was sensational.

He wasn't in Inception, but he was in the Town.

I work for Kaiser Soze.

I've been an admirer of Pete Postlethwaite since I first saw him in "Sharpe's Rifles."

Check him out in "Brassed Off" or "Romeo and Juliet."

Sad loss, far too early.

JCej, he was in "Inception" too -- a brief but memorable (as usual) part as the dying father. Can't agree more with the comments above . . . one of the greatest actors ever. Still shocked at the news.

He sure does resemble one of the cast members of Alien 3. Was he in that as well?

Oh, what a loss. Rest in peace, Pete Postlethwaite. You were one of the great ones.

JCej: He was in Inception, he played the elder, dying Fischer.

He was in Inception, he played Maurice's dying Father. And yes, he was awesome in The Town. Rest in peace Pete...

Loved him in 'Brassed-Off' (the scene where his band-mates think he's dying in the hospital and play "Danny Boy" makes me tear-up everytime) and also "Amongst Giants" a May-December romance with Rachel "Muriel's Wedding" Griffths,
about two technicians who pay gigantic electrical towers for a living. The kind of guy you wanted to have a drink with and chat-up 'til the wee hours of the morning. You shall be missed, sir.

Loved him in many, many movies. I particularly enjoyed his performance in Romeo & Juliet.

His role as Obadiah Hakeswill in the Sharpe series was his best.

Probably the nastiest character in recorded media, played perfectly.

You couldn't help but hate him!

of course he was in inception.

He was in Inception-- Maurice Fischer.

 

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