Monday, 3 January 2011

RIP Pete Postlethwaite, 7 February 1946 – 2 January 2011

The actor and environmental activist Pete Postlethwaite has died of cancer at just 64 years of age. His film career was rich and varied and whether watching "Brassed Off" with its wrath (and his passionate speech at the end) directed at the closure of the pits by an uncaring government, or his sinister turn in "The Usual Suspects", or his role as the custodian of humanity's decline in "Age of Stupid", he was always engaging and fascinating. His work was realistic without ever being mundane, often thought-provoking but still often entertaining. He navigated both the mainstream with appearances in movies like "Jurassic Park", "James & The Giant Peach" and TV series like "The Professionals" and "Sharpe", and the more specialist genres, such as "The Constant Gardener" with its anti-corporate theme and "In The Name of the Father" with its exposition of British involvement in Northern Ireland. He was in last year's blockbuster, "Inception". Outside films, he was also an accomplished stage actor, including recently as King Lear.

Suffice to say, having passed away all too early, he will be sadly missed by people from many walks of life. His activism was deep and genuine, void of courting the personal publicity that some thespians and other performers self-servingly seek about their "charity and campaigning" work. His "Age of Stupid", where he plays a custodian of the history of humanity looking back at our inability to save ourselves from self-destruction, will undoubtedly stand as a monument to both his acting and activism.

He will be missed, but not forgotten. And we have a chance still to look forward to enjoying a new performance from him one final time in April, in the film "Killing Bono".

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