Richard Henry Sellers, CBE (8 September 1925 – 24 July 1980), known as Peter Sellers, was a British comedian and actor.
According to Sellers' biographer Roger Lewis, Sellers was intrigued by Catholicism, but soon after entering Catholic school, he "discovered he was a Jew—he was someone on the outside of the mysteries of faith." Sellers says that teachers referred to him as "The Jew", which led to his subsequent sensitivity to anti-semitic innuendos. Accompanying his family on the variety show circuit,[5] Sellers learned stagecraft, which proved valuable later. Sellers got his first job at a theatre in Ilfracombe, when he was 15, starting as a janitor. At his regular job backstage at the theatre, Sellers began practising on a set of drums that belonged to the band "Joe Daniels and His Hot Shots." Joe Daniels began noticing his efforts and gave him some practical instructions. He later enlisted, and during World War II Sellers was an airman in the Royal Air Force, rising to corporal, though he had been restricted to ground staff because of poor eyesight.
He occasionally impersonated his superiors,[5] and his portrayal of RAF officer Lionel Mandrake in the film Dr. After his discharge and return to England in 1948, Sellers supported himself with stand-up routines in variety theatres whose impresarios needed to legitimise their business.[5] Sellers telephoned BBC radio producer Roy Speer, pretending to be Kenneth Horne, star of the radio show Much Binding in the Marsh, to get Speer to speak to him. As a result, Sellers was given an audition, which led to his work on Ray's a Laugh with comedian Ted Ray. In the late 1950s, Sellers released two comedy records produced by George Martin: The Best of Sellers and Songs for Swinging Sellers.
In 1963, Sellers worked with Anthony Newley, Leslie Bricusse and Joan Collins to produce the LP Fool Britannia.
A 1965 hit was a spoof spoken version of the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night", in the style of Laurence Olivier. In 1979 he released a new gatefold album entitled Sellers' Market (the cover shows him standing next to traders reading the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal whereas Sellers is reading the Finchley Press) which included comic singing and a feature called the "All England George Formby Finals" where he parodies the late George Formby and his ukulele playing. Well, having got to the stage where one sees a final script and has discussed the part with all concerned, I start with the voice.
Sellers' film success arrived with British comedies, including The Ladykillers, I'm All Right Jack and The Mouse That Roared. In The Smallest Show on Earth, the 27-year-old actor played a doddering, drunken elderly projectionist twice his actual age.
He began receiving international attention for his portrayal of an Indian doctor in The Millionairess with Sophia Loren.
In 1962, Stanley Kubrick asked Sellers to play the role of Clare Quilty in Lolita opposite James Mason and Shelley Winters.
Unlike most of his earlier well-rehearsed movie roles, Sellers was encouraged by Kubrick to improvise throughout the filming in order to exhaust all the possibilities of his character. From 1963, Sellers was cast as the bumbling Chief Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther movies.
In 1979, Sellers played the role of Chance, a simple gardener addicted to watching TV, in the black comedy Being There, considered by some critics to be the "crowning triumph of Peter Sellers's remarkable career,"[19] as well as a great achievement for novelist Jerzy Kosinski. Sellers's performance was praised by some critics as achieving "the pinpoint-sharp exactitude of nothingness.
Sellers's experience of working on the film was both humbling and powerful for him.[20] During the filming, in order not to break his character, he refused most interview requests, and even kept his distance from other actors. Critic Frank Rich noted the acting skill required for this sort of role, with a "schismatic personality that Peter had to convey with strenuous vocal and gestural technique. Being There earned Sellers his best reviews since the 1960s, a second Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe award.
Sellers died shortly before Fu Manchu was released, with his very last performance being that of conman "Monty Casino" in a series of adverts for Barclays Bank.
Director Billy Wilder hired Sellers to co-star with Dean Martin for the ribald 1964 comedy Kiss Me, Stupid, but six weeks into filming, Sellers suffered a heart attack.
Sellers was a versatile actor, switching from broad comedy, as in The Party, in which he portrayed a bumbling Indian actor Hrundi Bakshi, to more intense performances as in Lolita. English actress Lynne Frederick (1977–1980), who was briefly married to Sir David Frost shortly after Sellers' death. Spike Milligan wrote Sellers' multiple marriages into his scripts, referring in one 1972 radio show to "The Peter Sellers Discarded Wives Memorial". Sellers had casual friendships with two Beatles, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.[5] Harrison told occasional Sellers stories in interviews, and Starr appeared with him in the anarchic movie The Magic Christian, which was based on Terry Southern's novel and whose theme song was Badfinger's "Come and Get It", written by Paul McCartney. Sellers's friends included actor and director Roman Polanski, who shared his passion for fast cars. In her autobiography True Britt, Britt Ekland described Sellers' close relationship with the Royal Family.
Sellers had a lifelong obsession with cars, briefly parodied in a fleeting cameo in the short film Simon Simon, directed by friend Graham Stark. Sellers' personality was described by others as difficult and demanding and he often clashed with fellow actors and directors. His work with Orson Welles on Casino Royale deteriorated as Sellers became jealous of Welles's casual relationship with Princess Margaret. Sellers could be cruel and disrespectful, as demonstrated by his treatment of actress Jo Van Fleet on the set of I Love You, Alice B. Sellers' difficulties to maintain civil and peaceful relationships also extended into his private life. In the spring of 1964, at age 38, Sellers suffered a series of heart attacks (13 in a few days) while working on the set of Billy Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid, and he was replaced by Ray Walston. A reunion dinner was scheduled in London with his Goon Show partners, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe, for 25 July 1980.
In his will, Sellers requested that the Glenn Miller song "In the Mood" be played at his funeral.
The stage play, “Being Sellers,” premiered in Australia in 1998, three years after release of the biography by Roger Lewis, “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.” The play premiered in New York in December 2010.
The film Trail of the Pink Panther, made by Blake Edwards using unused footage of Sellers from The Pink Panther Strikes Again, is dedicated to Sellers's memory. In a 2005 poll to find "The Comedian's Comedian", Sellers was voted 14 in the list of the top 20 greatest comedians by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.[40] British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen frequently referred to Peter Sellers "as the most seminal force in shaping his early ideas on comedy". Various characters, including Inspector Clouseau, a gypsy, Queen Victoria, a masseur, and a preacher. A wrenching and ultimately inspirational film about college linebacker Steve Gleason's battle with ALS.
Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. Perhaps best known as Chief Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther film series, he is also notable for playing three different characters in Dr. Though christened Richard Henry, his parents always called him Peter, after his elder stillborn brother,[5] and, according to Bryan Forbes, "was, during his formative years, totally smothered in maternal affection". He performed at age five at the burlesque Windmill Theatre in the drama Splash Me!, which featured his mother.[10] However, he grew up with conflicting influences from his parents and developed ambivalent feelings about show business.


He was steadily promoted, becoming a box office clerk, usher, assistant stage manager, and lighting operator.
His principal radio work was on The Goon Show with Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and (originally) Michael Bentine. The Best of Sellers album cover (first released in 10" format in 1958 and his debut LP) pictured him polishing a Rolls-Royce motor car. This comprised a series of sketches satirising the British political scandal the Profumo Affair, in which the Minister for War was revealed to have lied about his relationship with a prostitute who was also involved with a Russian diplomat.
In his early film roles, he continued to exploit his ability to do accents and different voices, often in character parts and occasionally playing several distinct roles in a single film.
In The Mouse That Roared, set in a small European country, he played three major and distinct roles, the elderly queen, the ambitious Prime Minister, and the innocent and clumsy farm boy selected to lead an invasion of the United States. The film inspired the George Martin-produced novelty hit single Goodness Gracious Me and its follow-up Bangers and Mash, both featuring Sellers and Loren. Kubrick had seen Sellers in his earlier films and was intrigued by his range, also demonstrated during The Goon Show period when Sellers had done impressions of famous people, such as Winston Churchill, the Queen, and Lew Grade.
He became nervous about taking on the role, and many people came up to him and told him they felt the role believable.[13] Kubrick eventually succeeded in persuading Sellers to play the part, however. Moreover, in order to capture Sellers at his most creative heights, Kubrick often used as many as three cameras. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb he asked Sellers to be in the leading role.
Strangelove appeared in the same room throughout the film, with the help of Kubrick's special effects.
This character gave Sellers a worldwide audience, beginning with The Pink Panther and its sequel, A Shot in the Dark, in which he featured more prominently.
A few months after the film was released, Time magazine wrote a cover-story article about Sellers, entitled, "Who is This Man?" The cover showed many of the characters Sellers had portrayed, including Chance, Quilty, Strangelove, Clouseau, and the Grand Duchess Glorianna XII. In 1982, Sellers returned to the big screen as Inspector Clouseau in Trail of the Pink Panther, which was composed entirely of deleted scenes from his past three Panther movies, in particular The Pink Panther Strikes Again, with a new story written around them. Fu Manchu, Sellers was scheduled to appear in another Clouseau comedy, The Romance Of The Pink Panther.
By the early 1970s he faced a downturn, however, and was dubbed "box office poison".[23] Sellers never won an Oscar but won the BAFTA for I'm All Right Jack. He was invited to appear on Michael Parkinson's eponymous chat show in 1974, but agreed under the condition that he could appear in character. Starr's two-week hiatus from the Beatles during the White Album recordings was spent aboard Sellers's yacht, where he wrote "Octopus's Garden". His love of cars was also referenced in The Goon Show episode "The Space Age," where Harry Secombe introduces Sellers by saying, "Good heavens, it's Peter Sellers, who has just broken his own record of keeping a car for more than a month." In "The Last Goon Show of All", announcer Andrew Timothy cued him with "Mr. He had a strained relationship with friend and director Blake Edwards, with whom he worked on the Pink Panther series and The Party. The relationship between the two actors created problems during filming, as Sellers refused to share the set with Welles, who himself was no stranger to strident behaviour. But around noon on 22 July, Sellers collapsed from a massive heart attack in his Dorchester Hotel room and fell into a coma.
When Iris dies the whole estate will go to Cassie, the daughter Lynne had with her third husband, Barry Unger. The request is considered his last touch of humour, as he hated the piece.[37] His body was cremated and he was interred at Golders Green Crematorium in London. Strangelove.” In commemoration of the film’s 40th anniversary, a newly restored print is showing at the Music Box Theatre. You will receive a weekly newsletter full of movie-related tidbits, articles, trailers, even the occasional streamable movie. Strangelove or:  How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is loosely based on Peter George’s 1958 book Red Alert (or Two Hours to Doom). Strangelove, as Clare Quilty in Lolita, and as the TV-addicted man-child Chance the gardener in his penultimate film, Being There. He was also offered some small acting parts.[5] Working backstage gave him a chance to see serious actors at work, such as Paul Scofield. He bluffed his way into the Officers' Mess using mimicry and the occasional false moustache, although as he told Michael Parkinson in the 1972 interview, occasionally older officers would suspect him. The most popular tracks on this album were "Balham, Gateway to the South" (a parody travelogue) and "Suddenly It's Folksong" where a group of people end up smashing up a pub after a row over someone playing a bum note.
The album was controversial, in part perhaps because of material involving the royal family, and would-be buyers in the United Kingdom found it especially hard to obtain. The album was not as popular as his first two in 1958 and 1959 although it is still sought after by collectors.[12] All of his albums exploited Sellers's ability to use his flexible voice to comedic effect. In the United States he received considerable publicity for playing three parts, a stunt he would do again in Dr.
Sellers and Kubrick created the multiple disguises used by Sellers, such as a state trooper and a German psychologist.
In this new version, Sellers played both "Fu Manchu" and his arch nemesis, police inspector Nayland Smith. Its script, written by Peter Moloney and Sellers himself, had Clouseau falling for a brilliant female criminal known as 'The Frog' and aiding her in her heists with the aim to reform her character.[citation needed] Blake Edwards did not participate in the planning of this new Clouseau instalment, as the working relationship between him and Sellers had broken down during the filming of Revenge Of The Pink Panther. When Kermit the Frog told Sellers he could relax and be "himself," Sellers (while wearing a Viking helmet, a girdle and one boxing glove, claiming to have attempted to dress as Queen Victoria), replied, "There is no me.
Sellers appeared dressed as a member of the Gestapo, impersonating the Kenneth Mars character in The Producers. The couple appeared in three films together: Carol For Another Christmas (1964), After the Fox (1966), and The Bobo (1967). Starr also gave Sellers a rough mix of songs from the Beatles' White Album; the tape was auctioned and bootlegged after his death.
One afternoon before we married he had disappeared saying that he had to do something 'important'. On one occasion, Van Fleet had declined an invitation to his house, soon followed by a misunderstanding between the two actors during filming.
Sellers chose to consult with psychic healers rather than seek Western medical treatment, and his heart condition continued to deteriorate over the next 16 years. Sellers' only son, Michael, died of a heart attack at 52 during surgery on 24 July 2006 (26 years to the day after his father's death).[36] Michael was survived by his second wife, Alison, whom he married in 1986, and their two children.
Sellers' private life was characterised by turmoil and crises, and included emotional problems and substance abuse. He also became close friends with Derek Altman, and together they launched Sellers' first stage act under the name "Altman and Sellers," where they played ukuleles, sang, and told jokes.
The Songs for Swinging Sellers album, released in 1959, whose title parodied Frank Sinatra's album Songs for Swinging Lovers, contained material written by Frank Muir and Denis Norden, and featured Sellers performing "Puttin on the Style" (a parody of the skiffle movement's performer Lonnie Donegan). The Trail of the Pink Panther, containing unused footage of Sellers, was released in 1982, after his death.


Production of the film ran into problems from the start, with Sellers' poor health and mental instability causing long delays and bickering between star and director Piers Haggard. Along with what many, notably his widow Lynne Frederick, saw as exploitation of Sellers, the manner in which Niven's cameo was handled has earned the movie a lasting unsavoury reputation.[citation needed] Edwards continued the series with a further instalment called the Curse of the Pink Panther, which was shot back to back with the framing footage for Trail, but Sellers was wholly absent from this film. The final draft of the script, including a humorous cover letter signed by "Pete Shakespeare", was delivered to United Artists' office less than six hours before Sellers died.[citation needed] Sellers death ended the project, along with two other planned movies for which Sellers had signed contracts in 1980. Sellers recorded a cover version of "A Hard Day's Night", in the style of Laurence Olivier's interpretation of Richard III, as well as various versions of "She Loves You", including as Dr. I was to learn he had spent afternoon tea with the Queen Mother at Clarence House."[33] He was a close friend of Princess Margaret[34], who appears in one of his home movies.
Strangelove (peter Sellers), and President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) try to head off the attack with the Soviets and plot their next move…the end is near! His father, Yorkshire-born Bill Sellers, was Protestant and his mother, Agnes Doreen 'Peg' nee Marks was Jewish, the daughter of Solomon Marks and his wife, Welcome Mendoza.
They also both enjoyed reading detective stories by Dashiell Hammett, and were inspired to start their own detective agency.
Sellers also appeared with guest Irene Handl on the track "Shadows on the Grass" where he played the part of a Frenchman befriending a lady in the park.
Strangelove, a heavily German-accented nuclear scientist, and Group Captain Lionel Mandrake of the RAF. With roughly 60% of the movie shot, Sellers had Haggard sacked and took over direction himself.
His performance is the funniest thing in the movie--better even than the inspired triple performance by Peter Sellers or the nutjob general played by Sterling Hayden--but this time I found myself paying special attention to the tics and twitches, the grimaces and eyebrow archings, the sardonic smiles and gum-chewing, and I enjoyed the way Scott approached the role as a duet for voice and facial expression.That can be dangerous for an actor.
Agnes was a first cousin, three times removed, of famous boxer Daniel Mendoza (1764-1836), not, as is commonly believed, his great-granddaughter.[6] As an adult, notes film critic Alexander Walker, Mendoza was the ancestor Sellers "most revered," and he usually kept an engraving of him hanging in his office. He felt his workload was too heavy and he worried he would not properly portray the character's Texas accent. Sellers had prepared to star as Chief Inspector Clouseau in another Pink Panther film; he died before the start of this project, Romance of the Pink Panther. Haggard later complained that the reshoots Sellers ordered added nothing to the production, and had resulted in the film being incoherent and unfocused.
Directors often ask actors to underplay closer shots, because too much facial movement translates into mugging or overacting. Kubrick pleaded with him and asked screenwriter Terry Southern (who had been raised in Texas) to record a tape with Kong's lines spoken in the correct accent.
Billy Wilder once asked Jack Lemmon for ``a little less'' so many takes in a row that Lemmon finally exploded: ``Whaddya want! Using Southern's tape, Sellers managed to get the accent right, and started shooting the scenes in the airplane. Nothing?'' Lemmon recalls that Wilder raised his eyes to heaven: ``Please God!'' Kubrick, whose attention to the smallest detail in every frame was obsessive, would have been aware of George C. But then Sellers sprained an ankle and could not work in the cramped cockpit set.[15][16][17]This forced Kubrick to recast the part with Slim Pickens. Scott's facial gymnastics, and yet he endorsed them, and when you watch ``Strangelove'' you can see why.Scott's work is hidden in plain view.
For his performance in all three roles, Sellers was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. His face here is so plastic and mobile it reminds you of Jerry Lewis or Jim Carrey (in completely different kinds of movies). Yet you don't consciously notice his expressions because Scott sells them with the energy and conviction of his performance. He means what he says so urgently that the expressions accompany his dialogue instead of distracting from it. Buck Turgidson, is informing the president that it is quite likely a B-52 bomber will be able to fly under Russian radar and deliver its payload even though the entire Soviet air force knows where the plane is headed. In another scene, scurrying around the War Room, he slips, falls to a knee, rights himself, and carries on. Kubrick the perfectionist left the unplanned slip in the film, because Scott made it seem convincing, and not an accident.``Dr.
Strangelove'' (1964) is filled with great comic performances, and just as well, because there's so little else in the movie apart from faces, bodies and words. Kubrick shot it on four principal locations (an office, the perimeter of an Air Force base, the ``War Room,'' and the interior of a B-52 bomber). His special effects are competent but not dazzling (we are obviously looking at model planes over Russia). The War Room, one of the most memorable of movie interiors, was created by Ken Adam out of a circular desk, a ring of lights, some back-projected maps, and darkness. Strangelove's'' humor is generated by a basic comic principle: People trying to be funny are never as funny as people trying to be serious and failing. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) fondling a phallic cigar while launching an unauthorized nuclear strike against Russia. He has become convinced that the commies are poisoning ``the purity and essence of our natural fluids'' by adding fluoride to the water supply.
Meanwhile, Ripper's coded message goes out to airborne B-52s to launch an attack against Russia. A horrified President Muffley (Sellers again) convenes his advisers in the War Room and is informed by Turgidson, bit by reluctant bit, of the enormity of the situation: The bombers are on the way, they cannot be recalled, Gen. Strangelove (Sellers a third time), a character whose German accent now evokes Henry Kissinger, although in 1964 nuclear think-tanker Herman Kahn was the likely target. Strangelove's black-gloved right hand is an unruly weapon with a will of its own, springing into Nazi salutes and trying to throttle Strangelove to death.
Action in the War Room and on the Air Force base is intercut with the B-52 cockpit, ruled by Major T.J.
Pickens, a character actor from westerns, was brought in by Kubrick, who reportedly didn't tell him the film was a comedy. Pickens' patriotic speeches to his crew (and his promises of promotion and medals) are counterpoint to the desperate American efforts to recall the flight.I've always thought the movie ends on an unsure note. After the first nuclear blast, Kubrick cuts back to the War Room, where Strangelove muses that deep mines could be used to shelter survivors, whose descendants could return to the surface in 90 years (Turgidson is intrigued by the 10-to-1 ratio of women to men).
I realize there would be a time lapse while Russian missiles responded to the attack, but I think the film would be more effective if the original blast brought an end to all further story developments. The two films share a common theme: Man designs machinery that functions with perfect logic to bring about a disastrous outcome. The computer HAL 9000 serves the space mission by attacking the astronauts.Stanley Kubrick himself was a perfectionist who went to obsessive lengths in order to get everything in his films to work just right.



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