Sorry to start your new year with some sad news, but reports indicate that the great character actor Pete Postlethwaite has died at age 64, "peacefully, after a long illness." Our deepest condolences to the man's family and friends.
American audiences were first introduced to the quietly commanding performer in David Fincher's 'Alien 3' but he was perhaps a bit more memorable in Michael Mann's 'The Last of the Mohicans.' Then came more great work in Jim Sheridan's 'In the Name of the Father,' (for which he earned an Oscar nomination), Bryan Singer's 'The Usual Suspects,' and Baz Luhrmann's 'Romeo + Juliet' -- all the while doing smaller films and TV work in his native Britain. (And I mentioned all the directors just to indicate how in-demand Mr. Postlethwaite was. It's easy to assume he was the sort of actor that directors adore.)
More colorful roles came in 'Brassed Off,' 'The Lost World: Jurassic Park,' and 'The Constant Gardener.' Heck, in 2010 alone the man appeared in 'Clash of the Titans,' 'Inception,' and 'The Town' -- and boy, was he great in 'The Town.' He also adds a nice touch of class to the upcoming 'Solomon Kane,' which is something Pete Postlethwaite did with seemingly dozens of films: deliver a dash of menace, a splash of warmth, or a big helping of humor -- always with class. He will certainly be missed.