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Postlethwaite, Pete (1945-2011)


Main image of Postlethwaite, Pete (1945-2011)

Formerly a teacher, this craggy-faced character actor began his career in the theatre, training for years at Manchester's Royal Exchange, the Bristol Old Vic, the Liverpool Everyman, and the RSC. A minor player in films during the '70s and '80s, he received critical praise for his role as an abusive father who features in a series of disturbing flashbacks in Terence Davies' Distant Voices Still Lives (UK/Germany, 1988).

Building on this newfound status, he appeared memorably in international films such as Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet (UK/US, 1990), the science-fiction thriller, Alien 3 (US, d. David Fincher, 1992) and the romantic epic, The Last of the Mohicans (US, d. Michael Mann, 1992).

Postlethwaite finally achieved stardom in his late 40s as a more endearing brand of patriarch in In the Name of the Father (UK/Ireland/US, d. Jim Sheridan, 1993), earning an Oscar nomination as best supporting actor. Subsequent roles, including the conductor of a Yorkshire colliery band in Brassed Off (UK/US, d. Mark Herman, 1996), the villainous game hunter in Steven Spielberg's The Lost World (US, 1997) and Rachel Griffiths' love interest in Among Giants (d. Sam Miller, 1998), have confirmed his versatility. He was made an OBE in 2004.

Melinda Hildebrandt, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Anchoress (1993)Anchoress (1993)

Ravishingly photographed feature about a medieval girl's visions

Thumbnail image of Brassed Off (1996)Brassed Off (1996)

Mournful drama about the fortunes of a colliery brass band

Thumbnail image of Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

Terence Davies' two-part portrait of a working-class Liverpool family

Thumbnail image of Occupy! (1976)Occupy! (1976)

Mixed media document of a workers' occupation of a Liverpool factory

Thumbnail image of Private Function, A (1984)Private Function, A (1984)

Alan Bennett-scripted Yorkshire comedy about pigs and social climbing

Thumbnail image of Afternoon Off (1979)Afternoon Off (1979)

Tragicomedy about an Asian waiter on a blind date in Hartlepool.

Thumbnail image of Doris and Doreen (1978)Doris and Doreen (1978)

Alan Bennett tragicomedy about office workers threatened with redundancy

Thumbnail image of Lost For Words (1999)Lost For Words (1999)

Moving drama about a dying mother that won Thora Hird her third BAFTA

Thumbnail image of Tumbledown (1988)Tumbledown (1988)

Lacerating drama about the Falklands War and its aftermath

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