The world of peter sellers
The Life and Death of Peter Sellers by Roger LewisRoger Lewis, in his no-holds-barred biography, exposes a Peter Sellers the world little knows. Recognized as the greatest British comic since Charlie Chaplin, Sellers was the grand master of fifty-five films - from Dr. Strangelove, to Being There and the Pink Panther hits. But shadowing his phenomenal career was a history of increasingly bizarre behavior involving psychotic violence, compulsive promiscuity, drug abuse and humiliating self-destructive obsessions with people including Princess Margaret, Sophia Loren, Liza Minnelli and each of his four wives (Ann Hayes, Britt Ekland, Miranda Quarry and Lynne Frederick). He alternately showered his wives and children with gifts and then threatened to kill them. Sellers fluidity as an actor made for a terrifying madness that grew like a slow metastasizing cancer throughout his adult life. The story of Peter Sellers concludes with his premature death at the age of 54, sick at heart and alone in those sunless hotel rooms, so recoiled from intimacy that no one really knew him anymore.
Peter Sellers: 10 essential films
In , Peter Sellers persuaded his friend Peter Medak to direct a pirate comedy that he had developed with fellow comic genius Spike Milligan — only to then sabotage the production. Medak had been excited about making a film with Sellers and Milligan — who with Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine made up the cast of the famed radio comedy The Goon Show — but the filming went from bad to worse. Things got off to a difficult start. He found Sellers in his bedroom. On a later occasion, filming was abandoned when Sellers appeared to suffer a heart attack and was rushed to hospital. Two days later, to his great surprise, Medak spotted a photograph in a newspaper of his lead actor dining with Princess Margaret in a swanky London restaurant. Many days of filming were lost and scenes deleted.
He spent his childhood traveling the vaudeville circuit, where he gained a fondness for entertaining and a desire to succeed beyond the realm of vaudeville. In the early s, Sellers played the drums with touring jazz bands and also learned to play the banjo and ukulele. He became an official RAF concert entertainer, and between and , Sellers spent his free time performing comedy sketches and playing the drums for the other servicemen. By , he had taken part in a few moderately successful auditions, none of which had resulted in an invitation to join the BBC. Having grown impatient for stardom, Sellers chose to take matters into his own hands. Sellers posed as a popular radio star and recommended himself to Speer.
Tibbetts The World of Peter Sellers digital restoration of the film. Directed and edited by Tony Palmer. Distributed by Voiceprint Music. Near the end of The World of Peter Sellers , the year old actor speeds in a fast car down a long, long highway. On the soundtrack, the music of Stravinsky's Firebird is overwhelmed by a barrage of discordant shrieks, fragments of words, rude noises. The car races on. The aural-visual effect of this sequence might be described as "cruel, paranoiac, burning, agonized, hopeless"—words British filmmaker Tony Palmer once used to described the "Revolution 9" track of the Beatles White Album.
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He performed in the BBC Radio comedy series The Goon Show , featured on a number of hit comic songs and became known to a worldwide audience through his many film characterisations, among them Chief Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther series of films. Born in Portsmouth , Sellers made his stage debut at the Kings Theatre, Southsea , when he was two weeks old. He began accompanying his parents in a variety act that toured the provincial theatres. He developed his mimicry and improvisational skills during a spell in Ralph Reader 's wartime Gang Show entertainment troupe, which toured Britain and the Far East. After the war, Sellers made his radio debut in ShowTime , and eventually became a regular performer on various BBC radio shows.