Pete Postlethwaite dies at age 64

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How sad to wake up on the first work day of the new year and find that one of the finest actors of the past 25 years has finished his life’s work forever. Despite battling cancer, Academy Award nominee and veteran Royal Shakespeare Company actor Pete Postelthwaite continued to work through the sickness, most recently starring in a tasking production of King Lear at the Old Vic theatre in London, England. The actor was also involved in a great number of film projects in his final years of work, including his passion project, The Age of Stupid in 2009, an impressive total of four films released in 2010 (Ironclad, Inception, The Town, Clash of the Titans), and will be seen post-humously in the 2011 Irish film, Killing Bono.

Postelthwaite, named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2004, is best known for his dramatic work, most famously for 1993’s In the Name of the Father, in which he played the titular father to Daniel Day Lewis, and received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The actor continued this trend going forward, his peculiar features shoring up his fantastic performances as gritty criminals…

How sad to wake up on the first work day of the new year and find that one of the finest actors of the past 25 years has finished his life's work forever. Despite battling cancer, Academy Award nominee and veteran Royal Shakespeare Company actor Pete Postelthwaite continued to work through the sickness, most recently starring in a tasking production of King Lear at the Old Vic theatre in London, England. The actor was also involved in a great number of film projects in his final years of work, including his passion project, The Age of Stupid in 2009, an impressive total of four films released in 2010 (Ironclad, Inception, The Town, Clash of the Titans), and will be seen post-humously in the 2011 Irish film, Killing Bono.

Postelthwaite, named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2004, is best known for his dramatic work, most famously for 1993's In the Name of the Father, in which he played the titular father to Daniel Day Lewis, and received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The actor continued this trend going forward, his peculiar features shoring up his fantastic performances as gritty criminals and historical types. My reaction at the news this morning was partly influenced by the fact that I saw Postelthwaite just last week (in The Town), leaving his face and manner freshly imprinted on my mind. In the words of a hippie singer, sometimes you don't know what you got until it's gone, and I'm not sure I appreciated the actor enough in his lifetime. 

If you're like me, and feel the need to catch up with this great actor, check out his full filmography here to get better acquainted. If you would like to pay homage to Postelthwaite's legacy, perhaps the best thing you can do is seek out his 2009 film, The Age of Stupid, a publicly-funded drama/documentary/animation that comments on climate change. You can listen to the actor's own thoughts on the film in a video that I've posted after the jump. (After catching WALL-E on TV last night, and hearing reports of massive floods in Australia and a 7.1 point earthquake in Chile within the first two days of 2011, I know I am prepared to listen.) You can also check out the dramatic advertisement Postelthwaite made for his starring role in King Lear. It only confirms what we'll be missing in the actor's absence. Rest in peace.

[via IMDb; via BBC]

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Pete Postelthwaite on The Age of Stupid

Postlethwaite as King Lear