Pete Postlethwaite

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Peter Postlethwaite)
Jump to: navigation, search
Pete Postlethwaite, OBE
Pete Postlethwaite.JPG
At the Make Poverty History march, Edinburgh (2005)
Born Peter William Postlethwaite
(1946-02-07)7 February 1946
Warrington, Lancashire, England
Died 2 January 2011(2011-01-02) (aged 64)
Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England
Cause of death
Pancreatic cancer
Nationality British
Alma mater Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
Occupation Actor
Years active 1975–2011
Spouse(s) Jacqueline Morrish
(m. 1987–2011, 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, his 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, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Romeo + Juliet. In television, he played Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill on Sharpe opposite Richard Sharpe, played by Sean Bean.

Postlethwaite trained as a teacher and taught drama before training as an actor. Director Steven Spielberg called him "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. A survivor of testicular cancer, he died from pancreatic cancer on 2 January 2011, aged 64.

Early life[edit]

Postlethwaite was born in Warrington in Lancashire on 7 February 1946, the fourth and youngest child of William (1913–1988) and Mary Postlethwaite (née Lawless; 1913–2000), working-class Roman Catholics.[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. Despite portraying Irish characters on multiple occasions, Postlethwaite was not of Irish descent.[5]


Early in his career, Postlethwaite was advised to adopt a new surname for his acting work by his first agent and by peers who quipped that his "would never be put up in lights outside theaters because they couldn't afford the electricity" (Postlethwaite rejected the advice).[6]

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.[7] 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.[citation needed] 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 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.[citation needed]

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. Later that same year, he toured Australia and New Zealand in a 90-minute one-man play, Scaramouche Jones, in which 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.[8] 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.[9]

In The Art of Discworld (2004), Terry Pratchett wrote that he had always imagined Sam Vimes as 'a younger, slightly bulkier version of Pete Postlethwaite'.[10]

Steven Spielberg called Postlethwaite "the best actor in the world" after working with him on The Lost World: Jurassic Park,[11] 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.'"[12]

One of his more notable roles was Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill in ITV's Sharpe series. The actor said this was one of his favourite roles and that he and fellow actor Sean Bean played 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 co-starred with Bean in When Saturday Comes.[citation needed]

Postlethwaite next starred in a Liverpool stage production of King Lear in 2008 at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, and at the Young Vic, London. He appeared 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."[13][14][15]

Terminally ill, Postlethwaite had a minor role in the 2010 blockbuster hit Inception, playing an industrialist who is similarly dying. That same year, 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.[16] 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.[17]


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.[18][19] Postlethwaite was a smoker from the age of ten.[20] In a March 2009 interview with Scotland on Sunday, the actor referred to 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?"[21]

Political activity[edit]

Postlethwaite appeared as a taxi driver in one of the Labour Party's political broadcasts during the 1997 general election.[22] He marched in London against the Iraq War in 2003.[23] 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.[24] The proposal to build a new power station at Kingsnorth was shelved by the coalition government in October 2010.

Illness and death[edit]

In March 2009, Postlethwaite was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,[25] from which he died at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on 2 January 2011.[26][27][28][29] He left behind two children, William John (born 1989), a drama student at LAMDA, and Lily Kathleen (born 1996).[9]

Postlethwaite continued acting almost to the end of 2010, showing clear signs of weight-loss during his last performances. In his last two years he worked on his memoirs A Spectacle of Dust with Shropshire Star writer Andy Richardson. It was published June 1, 2011.[30][31]



Year Film Role Notes
1975 The Racer Ecco Short film
1977 The Duellists Man shaving General Treillard Credited as Peter Postlethwaite
1983 Fords on Water Winston's Boss Credited as Peter Postlethwaite
1984 A Private Function Douglas J. Nuttol the Butcher
1988 The Dressmaker Jack Credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Number 27 Becket
To Kill a Priest Josef Credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Distant Voices, Still Lives Father
1990 Hamlet Player King
1992 Split Second Paulsen
Alien 3 David
Waterland Henry Crick Credited as Peter Postlethwaite
The Last of the Mohicans Captain Beams
1993 Anchoress William Carpenter
In the Name of the Father Giuseppe Conlon Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1994 Suite 16 Glover
1995 The Usual Suspects Mr. Kobayashi National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
1996 When Saturday Comes Ken Jackson
James and the Giant Peach Magic Man and Narrator
Dragonheart Brother Gilbert of Glockenspur
Crimetime Sidney
Romeo + Juliet Father Lawrence
Brassed Off Danny
1997 The Serpent's Kiss Thomas Smithers
The Lost World: Jurassic Park Roland Tembo Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Bandyta Sincai
Amistad William S. Holabird
1998 Among Giants Ray
1999 The Divine Ryans Uncle Reg Ryan
Wayward Son Ben Alexander
Animal Farm Jones/Benjamin
2000 When the Sky Falls Martin Shaughnessy
Rat Hubert Flynn
2001 Cowboy Up Reid Braxton
The Shipping News Tert Card
2002 Triggermen Ben Cutler
Between Strangers John
2003 The Selfish Giant Arthur Short film
2004 The Limit Gale
Strange Bedfellows Russell McKenzie
2005 Red Mercury Gold Commander
Dark Water Veeck
The Constant Gardener Dr. Lorbeer/ Dr. Brandt
Æon Flux Keeper
2006 Valley of the Heart's Delight Albion Munson
The Omen Father Brennan
2007 Ghost Son Doc
Closing the Ring Quinlan
Liyarn Ngarn[32] Himself – Narrator Factual Documentary
2008 Player Colin Short film
2009 The Age of Stupid The Archivist Documentary
Solomon Kane William Crowthorn
Waving at Trains Douglas Short film
2010 Clash of the Titans Spyros
Inception Maurice Fischer Nominated – 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 Town Fergus 'Fergie' Colm National 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
2011 Killing Bono Karl


Year Show Role Notes
1975 Second City Firsts Episode 5.5: "Thwum"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
1976 Plays for Britain Soldier Episode 1.1: "The Paradise Run"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
1978 Last of the Summer Wine Man in Cafe Episode 4.7: "A Merry Heatwave"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Going Straight Thomas Clifford Crowther Episode 1.5: "Going Going Gone"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Doris and Doreen Mr. Lomax TV film
1979 Afternoon Off Gallery attendant TV play
Horse in the House Uncle Doug Appeared in six episodes
1981 Play for Today Danny Duggan Episode 11.12: "The Muscle Market"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Coronation Street Detective Sergeant Cross Episode 2061
Crown Court Episode 10.19: "The Merry Widow: Part 1"
1982, 1993 Minder Jack "Oily" Wragg
Eric 'Logie' Lawson
Episode 3.12: "Back in Good Old England"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Episode 9.8: "The Roof of All Evil"
1984 Mitch Jack Frost Episode 1.6: "Squealer"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
1985 Victoria Wood As Seen on TV Barry Episode 1.6; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Summer Season Episode 1.17: "A Crack in the Ice"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Cyrano de Bergerac Ragueneau TV film
1987 Coast to Coast Kecks McGuinness TV film
1988 Tumbledown Major at rehabilitation centre TV film
1989 Tales of Sherwood Forest Eric Appeared in seven episodes
1990 Treasure Island George Merry TV film; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
Screenplay Paula's father Episode 5.10: "Needle"
Debut on Two Tony
Episode 1.5: "Kingdom Come"
Episode 1.6: "A Box of Swan"
Boon Steve McLaughlin Episode 5.9: "Undercover"
Zorro Episode 2.15: "The Marked Man"
1990, 1993 Casualty Ralph Peters
Episode 5.3: "Close to Home"
Episode 8.13: "The Good Life"
1991 The Grass Arena The Dipper TV film
A Child from the South Harry TV film
They Never Slept Panter TV film
1992 El C.I.D. Vince Episode 3.1: "Making Amends"
Between the Lines Chief Superintendent Jameson Episode 1.2: "Out of the Game"
Shakespeare: The Animated Tales Quince Episode 1.1: "A Midsummer Night's Dream"; credited as Peter Postlethwaite
1993 Lovejoy Terence Sullivan Episode 5.10: "Goose Bumps"
1994 Pie in the Sky Kevin Tasker Episode 1.8: "A Matter of Taste"
Sin Bin Mitch TV film
Sharpe's Company Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill TV film
Sharpe's Enemy Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill TV film
Martin Chuzzlewit Montague Tigg/Tigg Montague TV mini-series; appeared in episodes 1–2 and 4–6
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
1999 Lost for Words Deric Longden TV film
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
Alice in Wonderland The Carpenter TV film
Butterfly Collectors John McKeown TV film
Animal Farm Farmer Jones
TV film
2000 The Sins Len Green TV mini-series
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
2003 Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion Charles Burchell TV mini-series
2008 Criminal Justice Hooch TV mini-series


  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 (London, UK). 3 January 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Marriages and Births England and Wales, 1837–2006". Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Review: Autobiography Pete Postlethwaite: A Spectacle of Dust". Irish Independent. 1 December 2012. 
  6. ^ McLellan, Dennis (4 January 2011). "Pete Postlethwaite dies at 64; actor was nominated for an Oscar for 'In the Name of the Father'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Wheatley, Jane (27 October 2008). "The Coronation of Pete Postlethwaite". The Times (London). 
  8. ^ "ENOUGH ROPE with Andrew Denton – episode 12: Pete Postlethwaite". Australia: ABC. 2 June 2003. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Wheatley, Jane (27 October 2008). "The Coronation of Pete Postlethwaite". The Times (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  10. ^ Pratchett, Terry and Kidby, Paul. The Art of Discworld, Victor Gollancz Ltd, 2004; ISBN 0-575-07511-2
  11. ^ "Pete's progress". The Observer (London). 1 October 2000. Retrieved 25 April 2007. 
  12. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (25 April 2007). "The poet in Pete's soul". Telegraph Co UK (London, UK). Retrieved 25 April 2007. 
  13. ^ "Reactions: Spanner Films". Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  14. ^ "Press: Stupid on Channel 4 News". 16 February 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  15. ^ Jackson, Ben (18 February 2009). "The Age of Stupid already happening in real life". The Sun (London, UK). Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Jim Broadbent takes Pete Postlethwaite part in drama",; accessed 24 January 2014.
  18. ^ "Sean Martella's Testicular Cancer Update Blog: Cancer Survivors Part 1 – Pete Postlethwaite". 17 January 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  19. ^ "Pete's progress". The Observer (London). 1 October 2000. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  20. ^ "Pete Postlethwaite". London: Telegraph. 16 February 1945. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  21. ^ Smith, Aidan (8 March 2009). "Pete Postlethwaite interview: For the love of Pete". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 26 December 2010. 
  22. ^ Walker, Michael (3 January 2011). "Country Standard: Pete Postlethwaite – 1997 PPB Taxicab Angel". Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  23. ^ Weaver, Matthew (3 January 2011). "Actor Pete Postlethwaite dies". The Guardian (London). 
  24. ^ Siegle, Lucy (16 March 2009). "The night Miliband said 'I'm with Stupid, but...'". Guardian (UK). Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  25. ^ "The measure of a man is what's left when the fame falls away: Pete Postlethwaite's moving memoir". Daily Mail (London). 
  26. ^ Lesnik, Tim (17 February 2011). "Daniel Day Lewis Pays Tribute to Pete Postlethwaite". Retrieved 17 February 2011. 
  27. ^ "Oscar-nominated actor Pete Postlethwaite dies aged 64". BBC. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  28. ^ Actor Pete Postlethwaite dies age 64 The Independent (London) 3 January 2011
  29. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (1 January 2011). "Pete Postlethwaite: A face we won't forget". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  30. ^ "Pete Postlethwaite's book serialised in the Shropshire Star". Shropshire Star. June 20, 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  31. ^ Postlethwaite, Pete; Richardson, Andy (June 1, 2011). A Spectacle of Dust: The Autobiography (Hardcover ed.). Orion Publishing. ISBN 0297864939. 
  32. ^

External links[edit]