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Posted at 10:53 AM ET, 01/ 3/2011

Actor Pete Postlethwaite dies

By Liz Kelly

Pete Postlethwaite. (Reuters)

British actor Pete Postlethwaite, who director Steven Spielberg once described as "probably the best actor in the world today," is dead at 64 after a long fight with cancer.

The actor had roles in two Spielberg films: "Jurassic Park" and "Amistad." His response to Spielberg's remark was, "I'm sure what Spielberg actually said was, 'The thing about Pete is that he thinks he's the best actor in the world.'"

Postlethwaite received an Oscar nomination for his powerful performance in 1993's "In the Name of the Father." He co-starred with Daniel Day-Lewis as one of four men wrongfully accused of a London IRA bombing.

The prolific actor also turned in noted performances in "Brassed Off," "The Usual Suspects," "The Constant Gardener" and -- most recently -- "Inception" and "The Town."

Postlethwaite had originally planned to become a priest, according to the Associated Press and had trained as a teacher, per Wikipedia, but was called to acting in his late twenties.

In recent years, Postlethwaite had become a poiltical activist, helming the "The Age of Stupid," about climate change and adapting his home to be environmentally responsible. "Ignorance, lack of awareness of the situation is one of the biggest things," he said at the time. "Evil is what happens when good people do nothing."

In 2003, he also marched against the war in Iraq.

Fans have turned to Twitter to eulogize the actor as "one of our generation's finest talents" and "a legend." Wrote tweeter @Jhonenv, "Starting a new decade off without a Pete Postlethwaite is a damn sad way to start off a decade. How the hell do I opt out?"

Source: The Associated Press,

[Originally posted at 8:04 a.m. ET]

By Liz Kelly  | January 3, 2011; 10:53 AM ET
Categories:  Obits  | Tags:  Pete Postlethwaite  
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Sorry to hear this. A great character actor. He was so frightening in The Town as a florist/ thug and great in everything else I have seen him in.

Posted by: kvs09 | January 3, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I thought his best role was in "Sharpe's Company" and other Sharpe episodes, as the cackling villain Sgt. Hakeswill. If there was ever a tole made for Pete Postlethwaite, that was it. Probably available at your local library.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 3, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Postlethwaite enriched so many movies and BBC productions.
He will be missed. A prayer for his friends and family, who will miss him more than so many fans that miss the thought of him being in more great roles in the future. Besides the "great actor" label, Postlethwaite was always described as a humble, sweet guy from a working class background that felt lucky he was able to fully utilize a special talent he was given against long odds when he started.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | January 3, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

This tribute from the AP obituary:

...Over the years, some British actors who moved into the Oscar stratosphere were seduced by the glamour and moved to Hollywood. But Postlethwaite stayed away, living in recent years with his wife and two children in a farmhouse in [Shropshire] rural England, where his comings and goings drew little more than a friendly smile from neighbors who took his presence for granted.

Postlethwaite did not become a household name in much of the world - he is said to have resisted an agent's efforts to come up with a stage name that would be easier to pronounce and remember - but he was honored by Queen Elizabeth II when he received an OBE award in 2004.

Friends and colleagues described him as down-to-earth in a profession filled with overblown egos.

"Anyone who worked with him felt great affection for him," actor David Schneider told BBC News. "He was very un-actory. Sort of like a national treasure. There is so much affection for him; he was a wonderful actor and a wonderful bloke." He said Postlethwaite's skill and range would be appreciated more in hindsight...

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 3, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

He was also good in 'The Constant Gardener'(2005) and 'Brassed Off' (1996).

Posted by: jshay | January 3, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Check out "Lost for Words" which was a British TV movie-such a crushing subject played without melodrama. A deft, delicate protrayal.

Posted by: poppysue85 | January 3, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

He was so outstanding in 'Brassed Off' just a great working man's actor....also Ann Francis died, a lot of actors were lost this past year...

Posted by: bromisky | January 3, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

i am sorry ro read about mr postlethwaite's death. he was in my favorite movie of all times "the ususal suspects" michael shimansky

Posted by: coolgolf | January 3, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

as a correction, he was not in "Jurassic Park", but rather the first sequel (Lost World).

Posted by: satyric | January 3, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Acting can only stand so much before
people start asking questions

During the 1960's acting evolved into a weal response to the LBJ

Steven Speilberg is by far the best Film maker excellent in his virtue if no one can sign him on for a State Department Contract for African American Films

Posted by: kadija1 | January 3, 2011 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Acting can only stand so much before
people start asking questions

during the 1960's acting evolved into a weal response to the LBJ

Steven Speilberg is by far the best Film maker ; excellent in his virtue:
if no one can sign him on for a State Department Contract for African American Films
...I will!

Posted by: kadija1 | January 3, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

The first time I saw him was in James and the Giant Peach. I still think it's one of his best roles. Goodbye, Pete.

Posted by: FoothillWebDesign | January 4, 2011 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Loved him in The Usual Suspects and Romeo + Juliet.

Posted by: momismyname | January 4, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

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