Pete Postlethwaite (1946-2011)


The Racer (1975) / The Duellists (1977) / Fords on Water (1983) / A Private Function (1984) / The Dressmaker (1984) / Number 27 (1988) / To Kill a Priest (1988) / Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) / Hamlet (1990) / Split Second (1992) / Alien 3 (1992) / Waterland (1992) / The Last of the Mohicans (1992) / In the Name of the Father (1993) / The Usual Suspects (1995) / When Saturday Comes (1996) / Romeo + Juliet (1996) / Brassed Off (1996) /Jurassic Park : The Lost World (1997) / Amistad (1997)  / Among Giants (1998) / The Divine Ryans (1999) / Wayward Son (1999) / When the Sky Falls (2000) / The Shipping News (2001) / Triggermen (2002) / The Selfish Giant (2003) / The Limit Gale (2004) / Strange Bedfellows (2004) / Dark Water (2005) / The Constant Gardener (2005) / Æon Flux (2005) / Valley of the Heart’s Delight (2006) / The Omen (2006) / Ghost Son (2007) / Closing the Ring (2007) / Player (2008) / The Age of Stupid (2009) / Solomon Kane (2009) / Waving at Trains (2009) / Clash of the Titans (2010) / Inception (2010) / The Town (2010) / Killing Bono (2011)



by Ronald Bergan – 3rd January, 2011

The actor Pete Postlethwaite had a face that elicited many similes, among them “a stone archway” and “a bag of spanners”. These unflattering descriptions, plus his tongue-twisting surname, would suggest an actor with a career limited to minor supporting roles. But Postlethwaite, who has died of cancer aged 64, played a vast range of characters, often leading roles, on stage, television and film.

He was at ease in switching the masks of tragedy and comedy. The working-class martinet father he played in Terence Davies’s film Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), which Postlethwaite credited as his big break, can be seen as paradigmatic of his career. Postlethwaite powerfully conveyed the father’s double-sided nature: at one moment he is tenderly kissing his children goodnight, the next he is ripping the tablecloth off in a rage.

Postlethwaite was born in Warrington, Cheshire, the youngest child of Bill and Mary Postlethwaite. He studied to become a teacher at St Mary’s University College in Twickenham. “I thought, ‘You can’t possibly be an actor, somebody from Warrington. It’s not what you do.’ So I thought I’d go and teach for a couple of years, and if at the end of that time I still wanted to act then I’d do it.” He took a job in a sheet-metal factory to pay his way through Bristol Old Vic theatre school, before starting his career at the Liverpool Everyman theatre.

Nick Hamm writes: Pete always called it the way it was. He punctured pretentiousness and established a level of truth in his work as an actor. Woe betide the director who hadn’t done his homework or was trying to put one over on him. Pete became the shop steward of many a company. He represented the actors’ interests, both in the rehearsal room and out of it. In a business where words so often lose their meaning – where hyperbole is the norm – he was the real deal; a genuinely honest, decent man who loved his friends and family with a passion I’ve rarely encountered.

(For full article visit: )

Peter William Postlethwaite, actor, born 16 February 1946; died 2 January 2011


‘At the end of the day, acting is all about telling lies. We are professional imposters and the audience accept that. We’ve made this deal that we tell you a tale and a pack of lies, but there will be a truth in it. You may enjoy it, or it will disturb you.’



Interviewed by Rosanna Greenstreet (31/01/09)~

When were you happiest?
Last Sunday night in front of the fire, watching Mamma Mia! with Jax and our children, Will and Lily.

What is your earliest memory?
The smell of fresh mint in the new potatoes when I was four.

Which living person do you most admire?
Nelson Mandela. I’ve got a photograph of him taken six weeks after he was released, and there is one print for each year he was on Robben Island. A friend bought it for me.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Lack of self-discipline.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

What was your most embarrassing moment?
Underestimating a spot of flatulence in a pair of white jeans. I was 28 and thought I was the bee’s knees.

Aside from a property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
A butcher’s block. I paid £650.

What would your super power be?

What makes you depressed?
That life will come to an end.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
Good manners.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Not washing my hands every time I use the bathroom.

What is your favourite word?

What is your favourite book?
The Alexandria Quartet.

What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
Nothing – I like those kind of parties!

What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
“Oh Pete, that’s not acting!” It was Walter Donoghue, the assistant director, when we were rehearsing some strange, esoteric play.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Smoking. It’s a stupid habit.

What do you owe your parents?
Is there a limit?

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
Barry Thompson in junior school. I kicked him up the bum and made him cry.

What does love feel like?
A warm glove.

Have you ever said ‘I love you’ and not meant it?

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Tommy Cooper, Tina Turner, Hunter S Thompson, Harold Pinter and our Mike, my late brother.

What is the worst job you’ve done?
Spot-welding Watneys beer kegs on the night shift before I went to drama school.

When did you last cry, and why?
After struggling through the first preview of Lear – it was sheer relief.

How do you relax?
The Guardian crossword.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Getting this far.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
Imagine, by John Lennon.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Enjoy the moment.

Tell us a joke.
George W Bush.






2 comments on “Pete Postlethwaite (1946-2011)

  1. Thanks you for remembering a great actor..he was so down to earth and reminded one of numerous people you meet along the way in life through the characters he portrayed in his always superb work..he could be funny,scarey and loveable in a rough diamond sort of way..I personally regret missing his is great that he was able to do it before he became too ill..thanks too for putting up the super interview he gave..much appreciated!

  2. chaplin says:

    Terribly sad, Stephen.. and in the week or so since losing Pete, we’ve also lost Susannah York. The British Film Industry will be lacking without their presence..

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