The acclaimed British actor, best known for indelible roles in such films as In the Name of the Father, The Usual Suspects and Amistad, among many others, died Sunday after a long battle with cancer. He was 64.
Andrew Richardson, a journalist and close friend of Postlethwaite, announced his death today to U.K. media, saying he had died peacefully at a hospital in Shropshire, England, surrounded by his family. MORE: Blake Edwards dies
With his rough-hewn face and booming voice, Postlethwaite was a commanding presence on the big screen.
After playing small parts on the British stage and TV, Postlethwaite made his first appearance in a Hollywood film in Alien 3. He then went on to costar opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in two films, The Last of the Mohicans and In the Name of the Father, the latter of which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for playing Day-Lewis' dying father.
After gaining a slew of new fans as well as praise for his performance as Mr. Kobayashi in Bryan Singer's thriller The Usual Suspects, Tinseltown's hottest directors came calling.
Postlethwaite subsequently appeared in William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, directed by Baz Luhrmann, and two films for Steven Spielberg, Amistad and The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
Spielberg was so impressed by the grizzled thesp that he once hailed him as "the best actor in the world." Postlethwaite was said to have replied, "I'm sure what Spielberg actually said was, 'The thing about Pete is that he thinks he's the best actor in the world.' "
Postlethwaite originally hoped to be a priest, but he turned to teaching before becoming an actor. He was eventually made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.).
Other notable credits include his 1988 breakthrough, Distance Voices, Still Lives; 1996's When Saturday Comes, Dragonheart, and James and the Giant Peach; 2001's The Shipping News; 2005's The Constant Gardner; and 2009's The Age of Stupid.
Despite his illness, he also managed to appear in four films this year: Ironclad, Clash of the Titans, Inception and The Town.
Postlethwaite is survived by his wife, Jacqueline, as well as son William and daughter Mary