An esteemed veteran of British theater and television, Pete Postlethwaite entered feature films in 1984, and thereafter gained international recognition as one of the best character actors of the 1990s, noted for his reliable and often powerful performances. On stage, he performed with such prestigious groups as the Manchester Royal Exchange and the Liverpool Everyman, as well as the Royal Shakespeare Company. Postlethwaite entered film in the chaotic comedy A Private Function (1984). His first big break came when he played the tyrannical patriarch in Terence Davies's Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988). Notable subsequent film credits include Oscar-nominated supporting turns as Guiseppe Conlon in In the Name of the Father (1993), the Player King in Hamlet (1990), and a nicely over-the-top villain in Jurassic Park: The Lost World (1997). Later that same year, Postlethwaite set sail with Spielberg one again, only this time in decidedly more grim capacity, in the historical slave drama Amistad.
Though many moviegoers may not have necessarily pegged Postlethwaite as leading man material, his role as a man who experiences a strange transformation in the 2000 family comedy Rat proved him well capable of holding his own for an hour-and-a-half. His supporting roles becoming ever more prominant as the decade wore on, Postlethwaite navigated multiple genres with ease by turning up as a crusty building supervisor in the psychological horror thriller Dark Water, the keeper of a great conspiracy in the sci-fi action entry Æon Flux, and a shady drug company man in The Constant Gardener, a dramatic thriller detailing a determined widower's efforts to solve the mystery of his wife's murder. A scenery-chewing turn as an ill-fated priest attempting to save his soul in the high-profile 2006 remake The Omen preceded yet another trip into dark territory in Lamberto Bava's Ghost Son. Occasionally, Postlethwaite also tackled starring roles such as that of Danny in the upbeat British outing Brassed Off (1996) or the crazed Thomas Smithers in The Serpent's Kiss (1997). Postlethwaite died of cancer at age 64 in early 2011.