Biography of Peter Sellers (1925-1980)

Peter Sellers.

English actor born on September 8, 1925 in Southsea (Hampshire) and died on July 24, 1980 in London. His full name was Richard Henry Sellers.

Raised in a family of actors in vaudeville, with just two days of age came already on stage of the King's Theatre. He spent his childhood on tour with their parents, and thus attached with the theatrical world, although he aspired to go beyond the genre with which his family had triumphed. In his youth he attended classes of dance in Southsea and London, and at the beginning of the Decade of the forties started to go on tour with jazz bands, playing drums, banjo and ukulele. At the age of eighteen he was conscripted into the Royal British air forces, becoming the showman RAF officer, where, between 1943 and 1946, made comic performances and musicals for the soldiers. At the end of the war, he tried to go to work for the BBC, but his multiple interviews did not result, until Roy Speer, a radio producer, hired him to do a live sketch. Thereafter he was a regular contributor until he was ready to go to the cinema.

It began in 1950, putting the character voice of Alfonso Bedoya in the black rose, a film by Henry Hathaway , based on the novel by Thomas B. Costain, which starred Tyrone Power and Orson Welles. His first major role was in the quintet of death (1955), a comedy shared with Alec Guinness and Herbert Lom, one of the more black shot in the bosom of the Ealing, which precisely that year was sold to the BBC. The screenplay was nominated for the Oscar and won the British BAFTA Award. In 1956 Sellers put voice to Winston Churchill in the man who never existed, BAFTA Award for best screenplay. In the mid-1950s, Sellers starred in some sitcoms of television, in where he played several characters, just as it had done previously on the radio. A Show Called Fred (1956) or Son of Fred (1956), both directed by Richard Lester, made him also win prestige to larger audiences, with a mood in the line that would develop the Monty Python.

The comedy was definitely his gender, and also his versatility made him be able to interpret any kind of character, with even his voice for animated films such as the little giant (1958), a musical directed by George Pal , who won the Oscar for best special effects. His interest by interpreting different characters within a same story became a personal brand. He did it in a coup de grace (1959), war comedy that starred opposite Jean Seberg, and reached its highest expression in the Party (1968).

In the 1960s he decided to try other genres. Up to the last breath (1960), opted for the independent film, which chronicled a history of crimes with music by John Barrydirected by John Guillermin . And in 1962 became Lolita, adapted from the novel by Vladimir Nabokov , directed by Stanley Kubrick. The director had to deal with the decisions of the censorship on several occasions, and Sellers also here had the opportunity to interpret several characters, which the script required to mislead Humbert. For Kubrick would deploy these skills in red phone, we flew to Moscow? (1964), adapted from the novel by Peter George Kubrick shot the black and white, just as he had done with Lolita. Sellers here had the opportunity to play three characters, although at first they were going to be four.

These were years in which Sellers returned to comedies, and soon found the reef that would be known worldwide. Pink Panther (1964), Blake Edwards, made him forever in the inspector Clouseau, character who, initially, had been offered to Peter Ustinov. Sellers created it from the brand of a matchbox that included Captain Matthew Webb, who had been the first person who crossed the channel in 1875. His mustache and his bearing were caricatured and, to lose weight, Sellers was subjected to a diet of pills for a year. Henri Mancini dealt with the soundtrack, creating one of the landmarks of the musical history of the cinema. The success of the film was indisputable. The same year of this comedy, which mixed the war satire with science fiction, Sellers also starred in the new case of Inspector Clouseau (1964), second installment in the Pink Panther, who also directed by Blake Edwards, and which was released three months after the first.

In 1964 starring the irresistible Henry Orient, adaptation of the novel by Nora Johnson around a pianist women pursue that, that was nominated for the Golden Globe for best film. The eccentric main character seemed to have been created as of Peter Sellers. His Dr. Fassbender, of what such, Pussycat? (1965) by Clive Donner, caricature of the psychoanalyst, also earned a nomination for Golden Laurel, as well as provide you with the opportunity to work with a dash of Woody Allen. The film was banned in Norway because Sellers character tried to commit suicide by burning wrapped in the flag of that country.

Soon became another of his works most remembered, the Party (1968), written and directed by Blake Edwards, who placed him in the skin of an Indian actor who tries to achieve success in Hollywood, but is only able to trigger disaster. Filmed from a series of gags, the film became a cult comedy, with Peter Sellers in one of his most memorable performances, exploiting to the fullest capacity for mimicry and imitation of accents.

During the Decade of the seventies combined its traditional comedies, in which he played various characters (Soft Beds, Hard Battles, 1974, Roy Boulting) with some titles for television (The Last Goon Show of All, 1972), or even children's stories, such as the adventures of Alice (1972), musical directed by William Sterling where Sellers gave life to the March Hare. In 1974, ten years after the last installment, starred again in the return of the Pink Panther, directed by Blake Edwards, who had planned initially to become a television (a task which collected, however, the animation) series. Peter Seller was nominated on this occasion to the Golden Globes for his portrayal of Inspector Clouseau. Two years later came the fourth title, the Pink Panther strikes again (1976), with the same manager and the same main cast, showing that the public responded faithfully to their characters. New Sellers was nominated for the Golden Globes.

A corpse to desserts (1976), Robert Moore, gives a twist to detective stories. Five famous researchers gathered at the mansion of a strange character played by Truman Capote, are challenged by the host to solve a crime. Sellers gives life to one of them, an oriental that makes you enjoy once again of his taste for the costume. The idea was to caricature the detective world through its main protagonists (so, Miss Marple, will become Miss Marbles - the English expression 'loose the marbles', 'lose the marbles' literally, is equivalent to "lost key"). The writers of America Guild nominated the original script of Neil Simon.

In 1978, the fifth title of Inspector Clouseau, revenge of the Pink Panther, reveals that the series starts to idle, but even so, Edwards "raised" to Sellers to be able to shoot the latest installment, two years after his death, the trail of the Pink Panther (1982), where it collected actor appearances, snippets and scenes not used in previous titles. Their last two actual titles were Bienvenido Mr. Chance (1979), Hal Ashby, and the diabolical plan of Dr. Fu Manchú (1980), Piers Haggar. The first, based on the novel by Jerzy Koszinski, provided to Sellers a nomination for the Oscar and a British BAFTA for his portrayal of a gardener working life at the White House until the President died, and whose knowledge of the world has only come through the television. The second gave him his last multiple character and his latest work; Sellers died that same year of a heart attack victim.

The actor received official recognition to be named Commander of the order of the British Empire in 1966.


1950: Rosa negra. 1951: Penny Points to Paradise; Let completo Go Crazy (and screenwriter). 1952: Down Among the Z Men. 1954: Our Girl Friday; Orders Are Orders. 1955: Quintet of death; John and Julie. 1956: The Case of the Mukkinses Battle Horn (and screenwriter); The man who never existed. 1957: The Smallest Show on Earth; The Naked Truth; Imsomnia is Good For You. 1958: The little giant; Up the Creek. 1959: The Running, Jumping And Standing Still Film (and director, screenwriter, producer and editor); A knockout; I'm All Right, Jack; Ministerial cluelessness; The Battle of the Sexes. 1960: Until the last breath; Strange Huntleigh prison; The millionaire. 1961: Mr. Topaze (and director); Game for two. 1962: Two frescoes in orbit; Lolita; The biggest womanizer; Honored Guild of theft; The Dock Brief. 1963: Heavens above. 1964: Red telephone, would fly to Moscow?; The Pink Panther; The new case of inspector Clouseau; The irresistible Henry Orient. 1965: What such, Pussycat? 1966: On the trail of the Fox; Box of surprises. 1967: Casino Royale (and screenwriter); Seven-time women; The Bobo. 1968: The party; I Love You, Alice B. Toklas. 1969: If you want to be a millionaire don't waste time working (and screenwriter). 1970: there's a girl in my soup; Simon, Simon; Love crisp; A Day at the Beach. 1972: To never, Doctor; Alice's adventures. 1973: The optimist; Ghost in the Noonday Sun; The Blockhouse. 1974: Soft beds, hard battles; The return of the Pink Panther; The Great McGonagall. 1976: The Pink Panther strikes again; A corpse to the desserts. 1977: To See Such Fun. 1978: The revenge of the Pink Panther 1979: the quirky prisoner of Zenda. 1980: welcome, Mr. Chance; The diabolical Dr. Fu Manchú plan.

Works for television

1956: son of Fred; A Show Called Fred; Idiot Weekly, Price 2d. 1957: Yes, is the Cathode Ray Tube Show. 1958: The April 8th Show.1963: The Telegoons.