Actor Pete Postlethwaite dies at 64 of cancer

Pete Postlethwaite dead at 64

Steven Spielberg calls him 'the greatest actor in the world'. He could have stayed in teaching. That's what his parents wanted: it was the safe, secure route for a young man with working-class roots and a face few would describe as handsome.

But Pete Postlethwaite wanted more. He wanted to pursue his passion for acting and, at 24, he left teaching to train at the Bristol Old Vic theater. His parents remained skeptical, but when he was introduced to Queen Elizabeth II after a stellar 1980s performance with the Royal Shakespeare Company, even his mother was convinced he would make his mark.

It was an incredible ascent for Postlethwaite, a distinguished character actor with a remarkably craggy, timeworn face whose death at age 64 was confirmed Monday by Andrew Richardson, a longtime friend and journalist who documented the actor's fight against cancer. Richardson said the Oscar-nominated actor died Sunday.

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