Postlethwaite was born in Warrington in 1946. He trained as a teacher and taught drama before training as an actor. Steven Spielberg called Postlethwaite “the best actor in the world“. He received an Academy Award nomination for his role in In the Name of the Father in 1993, and was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2004 New Year’s Honours List.
Postlethwaite started his career at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre where his colleagues included Bill Nighy, Jonathan Pryce, Antony Sher and Julie Walters. Postlethwaite and Walters had an intimate relationship during the latter half of the 1970s. He was a veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company and other acting companies.
On 13 January 1981, he took the leading role in a BBC TV black comedy by Alan Bleasdale, The Muscle Market, which was a spin-off from Boys from the Blackstuff; it was part of the Play for Today series and also featured Alison Steadman.
After other early appearances in small parts for television programmes such as The Professionals, Postlethwaite’s first film success came with the film Distant Voices, Still Lives in 1988. He received an Academy Award nomination for his role in In the Name of the Father in 1993. He is perhaps best known for his role as mysterious lawyer Mr. Kobayashi in The Usual Suspects. He also made appearances in several successful films, including Alien 3, Amistad, Brassed Off, The Shipping News, The Constant Gardener, Inception and as Friar Lawrence in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet.
Steven Spielberg called Postlethwaite “the best actor in the world” after working with the actor on the The Lost World: Jurassic Park, to which 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.'”
One of his more notable roles was as antagonist Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill in ITV’s Sharpe series, which starred Sean Bean. Postlethwaite has said that this was one of his favourite roles and that he and Sean played so well off each other because of their mutual love and respect for each other. Bernard Cornwell, the author and creator of the Sharpe series, specifically wrote Hakeswill’s character in later novels to reflect Postletwaite’s performance as the character in the TV series. Postlethwaite also co-starred with Sean Bean in When Saturday Comes.
Postlethwaite next starred in the Liverpool stage production of King Lear in 2008 at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, and at the Young Vic, London. He appears in the climate change-themed film The Age of Stupid, premiered in March 2009.
Postlethwaite died from cancer on 2 January 2011.
Edited from Wikipedia