Peter Sellers Biography

Birthday: 1925-09-08
Place of Birth: Southsea, Hampshire
Height: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
Wiki Biography: Often credited as the greatest comedian of all time, Peter Sellers was born to a well-off English acting family in 1925. His mother and father worked in an acting company run by his grandmother. As a child, Sellers was spoiled, as his parents' first child had died at birth. He enlisted in the Royal Air Force and served during World War II. After the war he met Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine, who would become his future workmates. After the war, he set up a review in London, which was a combination of music (he played the drums) and impressions. Then, all of a sudden, he burst into prominence as the voices of numerous favorites on "The Goon Show" (1951-1960), making his debut in films in Penny Points to Paradise (1951) and Down Among the Z Men (1952), before making it big as one of the criminals in The Ladykillers (1955). These small but showy roles continued throughout the 1950s, but he got his first big break playing the dogmatic union man, Fred Kite, in I'm All Right Jack (1959). The film's success led to starring vehicles into the 1960s that showed off his extreme comic ability to its fullest. In 1962, Sellers was cast in the role of Clare Quilty in the Stanley Kubrick version of the film Lolita (1962) in which his performance as a mentally unbalanced TV writer with multiple personalities landed him another part in Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (1964) in which he played three roles which showed off his comic talent in play-acting in three different accents; British, American, and German. The year 1964 represented a peak in his career with four films in release, all of them well-received by critics and the public alike: "Dr. Strangelove," for which he was Oscar nominated, "The Pink Panther," in which he played his signature role of the bumbling French Inspector Jacques Clouseau for the first time, its almost accidental sequel, "A Shot in the Dark," and "The World of Henry Orient." Sellers was on top of the world, but in spring of that year, he suffered a nearly fatal heart attack on the set of Billy Wilder's "Kiss Me, Stupid" (1964). In a move Wilder later regretted, he replaced Sellers with Ray Walston rather than hold up production. The mid-1960s were noted for the popularity of all things British, from the Beatles (who were presented with their Grammy for Best New Artist by Sellers) to James Bond, and the world turned to Sellers for comedy. "What's New Pussycat" (1965) was another big hit, but a combination of ego and insecurity was making Sellers difficult to work with. When the James Bond spoof, "Casino Royale" (1967) ran over budget and was unable to recoup its costs despite an otherwise healthy box-office take, Sellers received some of the blame. He turned down an offer from United Artists for the title role in "Inspector Clouseau" (1968), but was angry when the production went ahead with Alan Arkin in his place. His difficult reputation and increasingly erratic behavior, combined with several less successful films, took a toll on his standing. By 1970, he had fallen out of favor. He spent the early years of the new decade appearing in such lackluster B films as "Where Does It Hurt?" (1972) and turning up more frequently on television as a guest on "The Dean Martin Show" and a Glen Campbell TV special. Inspector Clouseau came to his rescue when Sir Lew Grade expressed an interest in a TV series based on the character. Clouseau's creator, writer-director Blake Edwards, whose career had also seen better days, convinced Grade to bankroll a feature instead, and "Return of the Pink Panther" (1975) was a major hit in the summer of "Jaws" and restored both men to prominence. Sellers would play Clouseau in two more successful sequels, "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" (1976) and "The Revenge of the Pink Panther" (1978), and would use his newly rediscovered clout to realize his dream of playing Chauncey Gardiner in a film adaptation of Jerzy Kosinski's novel "Being There." Sellers had read the novel in 1972, but it took seven years for the film to reach the screen. "Being There" (1979) earned Sellers his second Oscar nomination, but he lost to Dustin Hoffman of "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979). Meanwhile, his health problems continued. In late 1977, Sellers barely survived another major heart attack and had a pacemaker surgically implanted to regulate his heartbeat. On July 25, 1980, Sellers was scheduled to have a reunion dinner in London with his Goon Show partners, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. However, on July 22, Sellers collapsed from a massive heart attack in his Dorchester Hotel room and fell into a coma. He died in a London hospital just after midnight on July 24, 1980 at age 54. He was survived by his fourth wife, Lynne Frederick, and three children: Michael, Sarah and Victoria. At the time of his death, he was scheduled to undergo heart surgery in Los Angeles at the very end of that month. His last movie, The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980), completed just a few months before his death, proved to be another box office flop. Director Blake Edwards' attempt at reviving the Pink Panther series after Sellers' death resulted in two panned 1980s comedies, the first of which, Trail of the Pink Panther (1982), deals with Inspector Clouseau's disappearance and was made from material cut from previous Pink Panther films and includes interviews with the original casts playing their original characters.

Peter SellersPhotos & Pictures

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Filmography

TV Title Appeared As Year Genre
Lady Killers Harry (a.k.a. 'Mr. Robinson') 1955 Comedy
Son of Fred 1956 Comedy
Idiot Weekly, Price 2d 1956 Comedy
A Show Called Fred 1956 Comedy
The Pink Panther Insp. Jacques Clouseau 1963 Comedy
The Telegoons Bluebottle 1963 Family
Movies Title Appeared As Year Genre
Down Among the Z Men Major Bloodnok 1952
The Case of the Mukkinese Battle Horn 1956
The Lady Killer Harry (a.k.a. 'Mr. Robinson') 1956 Comedy, Crime
The Smallest Show on Earth Percy Quill 1957
Tom Thumb 1958 0, 0, 0
The Mouse That Roared Grand Duchess Gloriana XII 1959
I'm All Right Jack Fred Kite 1959
The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film Photographer 1960
The Battle of the Sexes 1960
Two-Way Stretch 1960 Comedy, Crime
The Millionairess Dr. Ahmed el Kabir 1960 Comedy, Drama, Romance
Only Two Can Play 1962 Comedy, Drama
The Waltz of the Toreadors Gen. Leo Fitzjohn 1962 Comedy
Heavens Above! 1963
The Wrong Arm of the Law 1963 0
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb President Merkin Muffley 1964 Comedy, Drama
The World of Henry Orient Henry Orient 1964 Comedy, Drama
Carol for Another Christmas 1964 Drama, Fantasy
The Bobo Juan Bautista 1967
I Love You, Alice B. Toklas 1968 Comedy, Romance
The Magic Christian Sir Guy Grand 1969 Comedy
Simon, Simon 1970
There's a Girl in My Soup Robert Danvers 1970 Biography
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland March Hare 1972
The Blockhouse 1973
The Return of the Pink Panther Insp. Jacques Clouseau 1975 Comedy, Crime, Mystery
The Pink Panther Strikes Again Chief Inspector Clouseau 1976 0, Comedy
Murder by Death Sidney Wang 1976 Comedy, Mystery, Thriller
Revenge of the Pink Panther Chief Insp. Jacques Clouseau 1978 Game Show, 0, 0
Being There Chance 1979 0
The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu Dennis Nayland Smith 1980 Reality Tv
Trail of the Pink Panther Chief Insp. Jacques Clouseau 1982 Comedy, 0
Ghost In The Noonday Sun Dick Scratcher 1984 Comedy
The Pink Panther Insp. Jacques Clouseau 2006 0, 0, Comedy, Game Show
A Shot In The Dark Jacques Clouseau 2017