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Pete Postlethwaite 1946 - 2011

Updated on June 20, 2014

Pete Postlethwaite, OBE

There are times when the death of a stranger affects me deeply. I never met Pete Postlethwaite, I saw him only on a screen but I felt as if I knew him. His death hit me like a personal loss.

He was more than a superb actor.

I remember the roles he played of course, but there was a lot more to Pete Postlethwaite than the unforgettable characters he brought to life.

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Postlethwaite and Social Justice

Pete Postlethwaite was an active supporter of the Make Poverty History campaign. He addressed government bodies and spoke at rallies. He marched against the war in Iraq, and spoke out against global warming.

Postlethwaite in Australia

An old friend, Billy Johnson, told Postlethwaite of the murder of his adopted Aboriginal son, Louis St John Johnson, who was beaten to death on a Perth suburban street in 1992 for seemingly no reason other than the colour of his skin.

Postlethwaite, shocked at such a crime and at the prevalence of deaths in custody, decided to act.

He teamed with Dodson and Archie Roach - who wrote the song Looking For Butterboy to celebrate Louis's life - on a tour through both the West Australian outback and Johnson's past to change attitudes towards indigenous Australians.

The result was a powerful documentary, journey into injustice.- - Liyarn Ngarn - meaning coming together of the spirit in the Yawuru language.


Pete Postlethwaite on screen

Om the big screen I watched Pete Postlethwaite In Distant Voices, Still Lives, the neo-noir Usual Suspects, in Alien 3, Brassed Off and in Baz Luhman's Romeo and Juliet. .

I remember him most from In the Name of the Father, the biographical film based on the true life story of the Guildford Four, His portrayal of Guiseppe Conlon moved me to tears.

Postlethwaite - In the Name of the Father

In the Name of the Father
In the Name of the Father

The true story of a 15-year struggle and ultimate triumph over a terrible injustice


The best actor in the world

Postlethwaite, who was made an OBE in 2004, was described by Steven Spielberg as "the best actor in the world". They worked together on The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Amistad, both released in 1997.

In response to the praise, Postlethwaite quipped: "I'm sure what Spielberg actually said was, 'The thing about Pete is that he thinks he's the best actor in the world'."

The Constant Gardener

Ralph Fiennes and Pete Postlethwaite in The Constant Gardener

The Constant Gardener
The Constant Gardener

A murder mystery with excellent actors in beautiful African scenery.

Based on a novel by John Le Carre


More Movies with Pete Postlethwaite

The Usual Suspects [Blu-ray]
The Usual Suspects [Blu-ray]

A funny and fiendish thriller

Brassed Off!
Brassed Off!

Delightful and entertaining comedy

Romeo And Juliet
Romeo And Juliet

With Pete Postlethwaite as Fr. Laurence


Pete had a beautifully trained voice

From Brassed Off

Note : At the very end of this clip is one swear word. Stop the video at 1.50 if the word could offend you

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Farewell Pete Postelthwaite

Sound on Sight

Peter William Postlethwaite was born on February 16, 1946 in the northwest English town of Warrington, the fourth and youngest child of a Catholic family.

He was a teacher before training as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

He died on January 3, 2011 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He will be sorely missed.

Vale, Pete!

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    • goldenrulecomics profile image


      5 years ago from New Jersey

      Nice tribute.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      He was a great actor, always enjoyed viewing his work - and thank you for sharing this bio of him... I had no idea at all that he had visited Australia and taken up that cause!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a nice Lens Susan. Thank you for sharing. I also have a lens on Pete and also on his nephew Brad. Check them out if you'd like. I've lensrolled this lens to my Pete Postlethwaite lens.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a lovely tribute , because you make it very personal and we can feel how you feel about the loss of a great man.

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 

      8 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      He certainly was a great actor!Wonderful talent!

    • MagpieNest profile image


      8 years ago

      A brilliant actor, very sad. I hadn't realized how well respected he was within the film business until the recent articles.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 

      8 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      Thanks for a great tribute to one of the very best. My entire family, all ages, loved the man.

    • justholidays profile image


      8 years ago

      Pete Postlethwaite is the kind of person of which we don't remember the name but we always know the face. Whatever the role he played, he always embodied the character himself, without never losing his own personality.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image


      8 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Wonderful tribute to a great actor. I remember seeing him in the Constant Gardener and many other movies. Deepest sympathy to his friends and family.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      He was a wonderful actor, was sorry to hear of his passing, he will be missed by all, condolences to his family and friends.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 

      8 years ago

      Moving and memorable tribute - thanks

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I too didn't recognize the name, but did the face. I watched the short clip from Brassed Off (haven't seen the movie) and thought it was really good. What a great lens, and a great way to show your appreciation of his talent. Thank you for sharing it with us, and allowing us the opportunity to know more about Pete.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the introduction to Pete Postlethwaite, although once I saw the face I knew him. I just didn't know him by name.

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image


      8 years ago

      Wonderful tribute lens. Was so sad to read about his passing today, he was a wonderful actor. I didn't know he was from Warrington - that's not far from where I live now. Thanks for making this!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Pete was indeed a great actor and he will be missed. Nice tribute lens Susanna.


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