Monday, January 3, 2011

Pete Postlethwaite has passed on!

Pete Postlethwaite has died today.  It's incredibly sad, both that he didn't get to enjoy more of 2011, and that he died at the yougn age of 64.  He had a long-running battle against cancer (he'd already lost one testicle to it), so this entire story is just tragic. 

If you think you don't know who Pete is, you're dead wrong.  He's a very well-known and well-respected English character actor.  If you've seen more than a dozen movies, then you've seen him.  He was Kobayashi in "The Usual Suspects," the #2 to Keyser Soze.  He was also in "Inception," "In the Name of the Father," "Brassed Off," and many other pictures.

Character actors are a very awkward topic, to my mind - on the one hand, no one ever calls a "star" a character actor.  However, many people understand that character actors tend to give deepest and nuanced performances; they act as the lynch pin for many films...  So, a character actor may give better performances than many stars, but they have less control and a lower salary.

Here's an easy way to explain it, a quote I heard from Nicholas Meyer: an actor convinces you that they are someone else; a star convinces you that someone else is them. 

I should have more to add about this man and his career; if I can find the time, I'll have to do that after work. As expected, however, BBC provides a better description of his career than any of the US web sites I've checked out.  Start there, and go to Pete's imdb page and/or his Wikipedia entry if you want more info now.

All I can say at the moment is that (a) I'm upset that he's gone, so young and to such an awful disease; also, (b) this really is a loss for the acting world in general - Mr. Postlethwaite guy was quite good.  The greatest loss, of course, must be felt by those closest to him...

UPDATE: AVClub say a lot, & well, & with well-selected videos.

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