Pete Postlethwaite

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Pete Postlethwaite, OBE
Pete Postlethwaite.JPG
At the Make Poverty History march in Edinburgh, 2005
BornPeter William Postlethwaite
(1946-02-07)7 February 1946
Warrington, Cheshire, England, UK
Died2 January 2011(2011-01-02) (aged 64)
Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, UK
Cause of deathPancreatic cancer
NationalityBritish
Alma materBristol Old Vic Theatre School
OccupationActor
Years active1975–2011
Spouse(s)Jacqueline Morrish
(m. 2003–2011, his death)
 
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Pete Postlethwaite, OBE
Pete Postlethwaite.JPG
At the Make Poverty History march in Edinburgh, 2005
BornPeter William Postlethwaite
(1946-02-07)7 February 1946
Warrington, Cheshire, England, UK
Died2 January 2011(2011-01-02) (aged 64)
Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, UK
Cause of deathPancreatic cancer
NationalityBritish
Alma materBristol Old Vic Theatre School
OccupationActor
Years active1975–2011
Spouse(s)Jacqueline Morrish
(m. 2003–2011, his death)

Peter William "Pete" Postlethwaite, OBE, (/ˈpɒsəlθwt/; 7 February 1946 – 2 January 2011)[1][2] was an English stage, film and television actor. After minor television appearances including in The Professionals, Postlethwaite's first success came with the film Distant Voices, Still Lives in 1988. He played a mysterious lawyer, Mr. Kobayashi, in The Usual Suspects, and he appeared in Alien 3, Amistad, Brassed Off, The Shipping News, The Constant Gardener, The Age of Stupid, and Romeo + Juliet. In television, Postlethwaite's most notable performance was as the villain Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill in the Sharpe television series and television films opposite actor Sean Bean's character of Richard Sharpe.

Postlethwaite was born in Warrington, Lancashire, England in 1946. He trained as a teacher and taught drama before training as an actor. Steven Spielberg called Postlethwaite "the best actor in the world" after working with him on The Lost World: Jurassic Park. He received an Academy Award nomination for his role in In the Name of the Father in 1993, and was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2004 New Year Honours list. He died of pancreatic cancer on 2 January 2011.

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Early life[edit]

Postlethwaite was born in Warrington in Lancashire on 7 February 1946. He was the fourth and youngest child of William (1913–1988) and Mary Postlethwaite (née Lawless; 1913–2000). He was brought up in a working class Roman Catholic family[3] with two sisters, Anne and Patricia, and a brother, Michael.[4] He trained as a teacher at St Mary's College, Strawberry Hill and taught drama at Loreto College, Manchester, before training as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Career[edit]

Postlethwaite started his career at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, where his colleagues included Bill Nighy, Jonathan Pryce, Antony Sher and Julie Walters. Postlethwaite and Walters had an intimate relationship during the latter half of the 1970s.[5] He was a veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company and other acting companies.

On 13 January 1981, he took the leading role in a BBC TV black comedy by Alan Bleasdale, The Muscle Market, which was a spin-off from Boys from the Blackstuff; it was part of the Play for Today series and also featured Alison Steadman.

After other early appearances in small parts for television programmes such as The Professionals, Postlethwaite's first film success came with the film Distant Voices, Still Lives in 1988. He received an Academy Award nomination for his role in In the Name of the Father in 1993. He is well known for his role as mysterious lawyer Mr. Kobayashi in The Usual Suspects. He also made appearances in several successful films, including Alien 3, Amistad, Brassed Off, The Shipping News, The Constant Gardener, Inception, and as Friar Lawrence in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet.

In 2003, he was both the physical and vocal actor for the villain Deeth in Zixx: Level One, a Canadian TV series created by IDT Entertainment. The same year, he went to Australia and New Zealand, touring a 90-minute one-man play called Scaramouche Jones where he played a clown trying to find out why he is who he is before he dies at midnight, receiving a nomination for the TMA Award for Best Actor and winning the Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Solo Performance.[6] This was directed by Rupert Goold, who would also direct his Lear in 2008, in which Postlethwaite played every character. As well as Australia, the play toured Canada, New Zealand and the UK to great acclaim.[7]

In the 2004 book The Art of Discworld, Terry Pratchett said that he had always imagined Sam Vimes as 'a younger, slightly bulkier version of Pete Postlethwaite'.[8]

Steven Spielberg called Postlethwaite "the best actor in the world" after working with him on The Lost World: Jurassic Park,[9] to which Postlethwaite quipped: "I'm sure what Spielberg actually said was, 'The thing about Pete is that he thinks he's the best actor in the world.'"[10]

One of his more notable roles was as antagonist Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill in ITV's Sharpe series, which starred Sean Bean. Postlethwaite has said that this was one of his favourite roles and that he and Sean played so well off each other because of their mutual love and respect. Bernard Cornwell, the author and creator of the Sharpe series, specifically wrote Hakeswill's character in later novels to reflect Postletwaite's performance as the character in the TV series. Postlethwaite also co-starred with Sean Bean in When Saturday Comes.

Postlethwaite next starred in the Liverpool stage production of King Lear in 2008 at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, and at the Young Vic, London. He appears in the climate change-themed film The Age of Stupid, premiered in March 2009. Having recently installed a wind turbine in his garden, he said was extremely impressed by the film and made an impassioned call for action on climate change on its release in The Sun newspaper; "The stakes [of climate of change] are very, very high. They're through the roof. How could we willingly know that we're going into extinction... and let it happen."[11][12][13]

Terminally ill, Postlethwaite had a minor role in the 2010 blockbuster hit Inception, playing an industrialist who is similarly dying. Also in 2010, his performance in The Town as florist and crime boss Fergus "Fergie" Colm was well received by critics. Postlethwaite's last appearance on screen was in Nick Hamm's film Killing Bono, based on the memoir of Neil McCormick. The role was written specially for Postlethwaite to accommodate his illness.[14] The film was released on 1 April 2011.

His final role was due to be in the BBC series Exile, written by Danny Brocklehurst and Paul Abbott, but he had to pull out because of ill health. Jim Broadbent replaced him in the role.[15]

Awards[edit]

Postlethwaite was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2004 New Year Honours list and received an honorary degree from Liverpool University in 2006. He received an Academy Award nomination for his role In the Name of the Father.

Personal life[edit]

Postlethwaite lived in West Itchenor, West Sussex, before moving to Shropshire, near Bishop's Castle, with his wife Jacqueline (Jacqui) Morrish Postlethwaite, a former BBC producer, whom he began a relationship with in 1987 and later married in 2003 in Chichester.[4] Postlethwaite was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1990, and had one testicle removed.[16][17] Postlethwaite was a smoker from the age of ten.[18] In a March 2009 interview with Scotland on Sunday, Postlethwaite commented on his smoking habit, stating: "We've got to hope the next generation will do things differently. I'm sure that in 20 years' time the kids will say: 'Can you believe that people actually used to smoke — put these funny little things in their mouths, lit them and sucked all that crap into their lungs?"[19]

Political activity[edit]

Postlethwaite appeared as a taxi driver in one of the Labour Party's political broadcasts during the 1997 general election.[20] He marched in London against the Iraq War in 2003.[21] He was an activist calling for action to prevent climate change. At the UK premiere of The Age of Stupid on 16 November 2009, he told Ed Miliband, then-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, that he would return his OBE and vote for any party other than Labour, if the Kingsnorth coal-fired power station was given the go-ahead by the government.[22]

Illness and death[edit]

Postlethwaite was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2009,[23] from which he died at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on 2 January 2011.[24][25][26][27] He left behind two children, both of whom were born in Shropshire: son William John (born 1989), a drama student at LAMDA, and daughter Lily Kathleen (born 1996).[7]

Postlethwaite kept acting to the end, and showed clear signs of side-effects, such as weight-loss, during his last performances.

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

YearFilmRoleNotes
1975The RacerEccoShort film
1977The DuellistsMan shaving General TreillardCredited as Peter Postlethwaite
1983Fords on WaterWinston's BossCredited as Peter Postlethwaite
1984A Private FunctionDouglas J. Nuttol the Butcher
1988The DressmakerJackCredited as Peter Postlethwaite
Number 27Becket
To Kill a PriestJosefCredited as Peter Postlethwaite
Distant Voices, Still LivesFather
1990HamletPlayer King
1992Split SecondPaulsen
Alien 3David
WaterlandHenry CrickCredited as Peter Postlethwaite
The Last of the MohicansCaptain Beams
1993AnchoressWilliam Carpenter
In the Name of the FatherGiuseppe ConlonNominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1994Suite 16Glover
1995The Usual SuspectsMr. KobayashiNational Board of Review Award for Best Cast
1996When Saturday ComesKen Jackson
James and the Giant PeachMagic Man and Narrator
DragonheartBrother Gilbert of Glockenspur
CrimetimeSidney
Romeo + JulietFather Lawrence
Brassed OffDanny
1997The Serpent's KissThomas Smithers
The Lost World: Jurassic ParkRoland TemboNominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
BandytaSincai
AmistadWilliam S. Holabird
1998Among GiantsRay
1999The Divine RyansUncle Reg Ryan
Wayward SonBen Alexander
Animal FarmJones/Benjamin
Butterfly CollectorsJohn McKeown
2000When the Sky FallsMartin Shaughnessy
RatHubert Flynn
2001Cowboy UpReid Braxton
The Shipping NewsTert Card
2002TriggermenBen Cutler
Between StrangersJohn
2003The Selfish GiantArthurShort film
2004The LimitGale
Strange BedfellowsRussell McKenzie
2005Red MercuryGold Commander
Dark WaterVeeck
The Constant GardenerDr. Lorbeer/ Dr. Brandt
Æon FluxKeeper
2006Valley of the Heart's DelightAlbion Munson
The OmenFather Brennan
2007Ghost SonDoc
Closing the RingQuinlan
Liyarn Ngarn [28]Himself - NarratorFactual Documentary
2008PlayerColinShort film
2009The Age of StupidThe ArchivistDocumentary
Solomon KaneWilliam Crowthorn
Waving at TrainsDouglasShort film
2010Clash of the TitansSpyros
InceptionMaurice FischerNominated – Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated – Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
The TownFergus 'Fergie' ColmNational Board of Review Award for Best Cast
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
2011Killing BonoKarl

Television[edit]

YearShowRoleNotes
1975Second City FirstsEpisode 5.5: "Thwum"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
1976Plays for BritainSoldierEpisode 1.1: "The Paradise Run"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
1978Last of the Summer WineMan in CafeEpisode 4.7: "A Merry Heatwave"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Going StraightThomas Clifford CrowtherEpisode 1.5: "Going Going Gone"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Doris and DoreenMr. LomaxTV film
1979Afternoon OffGallery attendantTV play
Horse in the HouseUncle DougAppeared in six episodes
1981Play for TodayDanny DugganEpisode 11.12: "The Muscle Market"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Coronation StreetDetective Sergeant CrossEpisode 2061
Crown CourtEpisode 10.19: "The Merry Widow: Part 1"
1982, 1993MinderJack "Oily" Wragg
Logie
Episode 3.12: "Back in Good Old England"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Episode 9.8: "The Roof of All Evil"
1984MitchJack FrostEpisode 1.6: "Squealer"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
1985Victoria Wood As Seen On TVBarryEpisode 1.6; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Summer SeasonEpisode 1.17: "A Crack in the Ice"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Cyrano de BergeracRagueneauTV film
1987Coast to CoastKecks McGuinnessTV film
1988TumbledownMajor at rehabilitation centreTV film
1989Tales of Sherwood ForestEricAppeared in seven episodes
1990Treasure IslandGeorge MerryTV film; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
ScreenplayPaula's fatherEpisode 5.10: "Needle"
Debut on TwoTony
Keef
Episode 1.5: "Kingdom Come"
Episode 1.6: "A Box of Swan"
BoonSteve McLaughlinEpisode 5.9: "Undercover"
ZorroEpisode 2.15: "The Marked Man"
1990, 1993CasualtyRalph Peters
Hank
Episode 5.3: "Close to Home"
Episode 8.13: "The Good Life"
1991The Grass ArenaThe DipperTV film
A Child from the SouthHarryTV film
They Never SleptPanterTV film
1992El C.I.D.VinceEpisode 3.1: "Making Amends"
Between the LinesChief Superintendent JamesonEpisode 1.2: "Out of the Game"
Shakespeare: The Animated TalesQuinceEpisode 1.1: "A Midsummer Night's Dream"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
1993LovejoyTerence SullivanEpisode 5.10: "Goose Bumps"
1994Pie in the SkyKevin TaskerEpisode 1.8: "A Matter of Taste"
Sin BinMitchTV film
Sharpe's CompanySergeant Obadiah HakeswillTV film
Sharpe's EnemySergeant Obadiah HakeswillTV film
Martin ChuzzlewitMontague Tigg/Tigg MontagueTV mini-series; appeared in episodes 1–2 and 4–6
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
1999Lost for WordsDeric LongdenTV film
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
Alice in WonderlandThe CarpenterTV film
Butterfly CollectorsJohn McKeownTV film
Animal FarmFarmer Jones
Benjamin
TV film
2000The SinsLen GreenTV mini-series
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
2003Shattered City: The Halifax ExplosionCharles BurchellTV mini-series
2008Criminal JusticeHoochTV mini-series

References[edit]

  1. ^ Weber, Bruce (3 January 2011). "Pete Postlethwaite, British Actor, Dies at 64". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ "Pete Postlethwaite Biography". 
  3. ^ "Pete Postlethwaite". The Daily Telegraph (UK). 3 January 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Marriages and Births England and Wales 1837–2006". Findmypast.co.uk. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  5. ^ Wheatley, Jane (27 October 2008). "The Coronation of Pete Postlethwaite". The Times (London). 
  6. ^ "ENOUGH ROPE with Andrew Denton – episode 12: Pete Postlethwaite". Australia: ABC. 2 June 2003. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Wheatley, Jane (27 October 2008). "The Coronation of Pete Postlethwaite". The Times (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  8. ^ Pratchett, Terry and Kidby, Paul. The Art of Discworld, Victor Gollancz Ltd, 2004 ISBN 0-575-07511-2
  9. ^ "Pete's progress". The Observer (London). 1 October 2000. Retrieved 25 April 2007. 
  10. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (25 April 2007). "The poet in Pete's soul". Telegraph Co UK (London). Retrieved 25 April 2007. 
  11. ^ "Reactions: Pete P at Parliament | Spanner Films". Ageofstupid.net. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "Press: Stupid on Channel 4 News 16th Feb 2008 | Spanner Films". Ageofstupid.net. 16 February 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  13. ^ Jackson, Ben (18 February 2009). "The Age of Stupid already happening in real life". The Sun (London). Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  14. ^ http://www.meg.ie/killing-bono-premier/
  15. ^ Jim Broadbent takes Pete Postlethwaite part in drama
  16. ^ "Sean Martella's Testicular Cancer Update Blog: Cancer Survivors Part 1 – Pete Postlethwaite". Seanmartella.blogspot.com. 17 January 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  17. ^ "Pete's progress". The Observer (London). 1 October 2000. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  18. ^ "Pete Postlethwaite". London: Telegraph. 16 February 1945. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  19. ^ Smith, Aidan (8 March 2009). "Pete Postlethwaite interview: For the love of Pete". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 26 December 2010. 
  20. ^ Walker, Michael (3 January 2011). "Country Standard: Pete Postlethwaite – 1997 PPB Taxicab Angel". Country-standard.blogspot.com. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  21. ^ Weaver, Matthew (3 January 2011). "Actor Pete Postlethwaite dies". The Guardian. 
  22. ^ Siegle, Lucy (16 March 2009). "The night Miliband said 'I'm with Stupid, but...'". Guardian (UK). Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  23. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2002401/Pete-Postlethwaites-moving-memoir-The-measure-man-whats-left-fame-falls-away.html
  24. ^ Lesnik, Tim (17 February 2011). "Daniel Day Lewis Pays Tribute to Pete Postlethwaite". Retrieved 17 February 2011. 
  25. ^ "Oscar-nominated actor Pete Postlethwaite dies aged 64". BBC. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  26. ^ Actor Pete Postlethwaite dies age 64 The Independent (London) 3 January 2011
  27. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (1 January 2011). "Pete Postlethwaite: A face we won't forget". Guardian (London). Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  28. ^ http://www.acmi.net.au/aust_bryan_dawe_presents.aspx

External links[edit]