British actor Pete Postlethwaite O.B.E., an Oscar nominee for his 1993 performance in ‘In the Name of the Father’, has died shortly before his 65th birthday. His death (yesterday), at a hospital in Shropshire, England, came after a battle with cancer which lasted almost 20 years.
Throughout his illness, Postlethwaite worked on movies. Recently, he was the bad guy florist in ‘The Town’, raised Perseus in ‘The Clash of the Titans’ and appeared in ‘Inception.’ He was known as a great character actor, giving very moving performances in British classics such as ‘Brassed Off’ which left many movie fans predicting an Oscar which never came to him.
Outside of acting, Pete Postlethwaite was a well-known character who never hid his political views. He was a passionate campaigner against UK involvement in the Iraq war and for various environmental causes. He vowed to return his OBE if further coal-powered units opened at the Kingsnorth power station.
Steven Spielberg, who directed Postlethwaite in ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’ then called him “best actor in the world”, to which Pete, with his typically dry northern English humor, quipped that what Spielberg really meant was: “ ‘the thing about Pete is that he thinks he’s the best actor in the world’.”
Postlethwaite fought testicular cancer, first diagnosed in 1991. He received treatment, with the removal of one testicle. So far, the exact nature of his fatal cancer has not been confirmed.