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Common misspelling: Peter Selers


Given Name

Date of Birth

Birth Place

Richard Henry Sellers

b. September 8, 1925

d. July 24, 1980

Portsmouth (Hampshire), England

Table of Contents

Biography News Websites Discography Filmography Books Posters Other Items


The following biography is from Wikipedia.org “The Free Encyclopedia.”


Richard Henry "Peter" Sellers, CBE (8 September 1925 – 24 July 1980) was an English comedian, actor, and performer, who came to prominence on the BBC radio series The Goon Show and later became a film star. He is regarded by many as one of the best actors of his generation.[citation needed]




Birth name Richard Henry "Peter" Sellers

Born 8 September 1925

Portsmouth, Hampshire, England

Died 24 July 1980, age 54

London, England





Sellers was born in Southsea, Portsmouth, England, to a family of entertainers. Despite his real name being Richard Henry Sellers, his parents called him "Peter" from an early age, in memory of his older still-born brother of that name.[citation needed] He attended a Roman Catholic school, although his father Bill was Protestant and his mother Agnes ("Peg") was Jewish.


Probably following his family in the variety circuit,[citation needed] Sellers learnt this popular yet difficult art and the immediate instinct of the "gag". He was an incredibly versatile artist: an excellent dancer, a drummer good enough to tour with several jazz bands (an excellent clip of him drumming exists when he was a guest on the Steve Allen show in 1964), and a skillful player of the ukulele and banjo (family legend has it that Sellers' father actually taught George Formby to play the ukulele)[citation needed]. He is known to have performed at the Windmill Theatre.[citation needed]


During World War II, Sellers was an airman in the Royal Air Force, rising to corporal by the end of the war. During his leisure periods, he did impersonations of his superiors.[citation needed] This helped Sellers in his later film Dr. Strangelove.


His success was quite slow in coming. He phoned up a television producer pretending to be Kenneth Horne, who was currently in the show Much Binding in the Marsh, in order to get them to speak to him. Success came as one of the Goons on the radio programme The Goon Show with fellow comedians Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine and was followed by early television work.


Sellers' first film successes were in British comedies, including The Ladykillers (1955), I'm All Right Jack (1959) and The Mouse That Roared (1959). On the international scene, in 1962 he portrayed an Indian doctor in The Road to Hong Kong, the seventh and last in the Bing Crosby/Bob Hope/Dorothy Lamour "Road" series.


Sellers was launched internationally with the hit The Millionairess which inspired the UK top ten George Martin production"Goodness Gracious Me" with co star Sophia Loren (1960). He was in Stanley Kubrick's Lolita in which he played Clare Quilty. After Stanley Kubrick decided to make his next film Dr. Strangelove a comedy, Columbia Pictures insisted on Sellers being cast. In Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) he notably played a triple role, comprising U.S. President Merkin Muffley, Dr. Strangelove, and Group Captain Lionel Mandrake of the RAF (the first two appearing in the same room throughout the film). Sellers was also originally cast in the role of Major T. J. 'King' Kong. At first, he had trouble perfecting a Southern accent, but a member of the crew made a recording of a Texan accent[citation needed] and Sellers was able to master it. However, during a scene, Sellers fell 15 feet from a cockpit and broke his leg preventing him from climbing in and out of the cockpit so Kubrick replaced Sellers with Slim Pickens.


Preceding his roles in Dr. Strangelove, Sellers is most famous for his role as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, the role that Peter Ustinov had declined in the Pink Panther movies, which gave him a worldwide audience, first in The Pink Panther in 1963 and then its sequel, the superior A Shot in the Dark in which he is featured far more prominently in 1964. He returned to the character for three more sequels from 1975 to 1978. The Trail of the Pink Panther was released after his death in 1982, containing previously unused footage of Sellers. His widow Lynne Frederick later successfully sued the film's producers.


He was a remarkably versatile actor, switching easily from broad comedy as in The Party (1968), to more intense performances, as in Lolita, where he played Clare Quilty, the nemesis of the film's (and novel's) principal protagonist, Humbert Humbert.


Sellers' career had slumped by the early 1970s (he was dubbed "box office poison")[citation needed], but, after reviving the Clouseau character, he was able to produce his cherished[citation needed] project Being There in 1979, winning his best reviews since the 1960s. This brought him his second Academy Award nomination. He was unsuccessful on both occasions, although he did win a Golden Globe for Being There and a British Academy Award (BAFTA) for I'm All Right Jack. Commonly[citation needed] considered a master actor and sometimes described[citation needed] as an "obsessive perfectionist", Sellers found in Blake Edwards a devoted director who could delicately underline and follow his comic rhythms. Edwards defined Sellers as a "mercurial clown" who could turn comedy into drama, and vice-versa, in an instant.[citation needed] He could also be cruel, as he demonstrated in his treatment of actress Jo Van Fleet on the set of I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968), when she made a slight faux pas and offended him.[citation needed]


Sellers had casual friendships[citation needed] with two of the Beatles, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Harrison told occasional Sellers' stories in interviews, and Starr appeared with him in the anarchic movie The Magic Christian (1970), whose theme song was Badfinger's cover version of Paul McCartney's "Come and Get It". Starr also gave Sellers a rough mix of songs from the Beatles' White Album, and the tape was auctioned (and bootlegged) after his death. Perhaps his more famous association with The Beatles is his cover of "A Hard Day's Night" (1965)in the style of Laurence Oliver's interpretation of Richard III.


Sellers was also a close friend of Princess Margaret.[citation needed] He loved cars: he was believed to have owned and sold many different models by the 1960s. This was briefly parodied in a fleeting cameo in the short film Simon Simon[1], which was directed by his friend Graham Stark. It was also mentioned in the The Goon Show episode "The Space Age", where Harry Secombe introduces Sellers with the comment: "Good Heavens, it's Peter Sellers, who has just broken his own record of keeping a car for more than a month".


Sellers was the first man to appear on the cover of Playboy — he appeared on the April (1964) cover with Karen Lynn.


Sellers played ukulele-banjo on the New York Girls track for Steeleye Span's 1975 album, Commoner's Crown.


Much of Sellers' genius however was greatly marred by his personal life. Sellers could be a difficult person. He was extremely eccentric and hurt many people throughout his life, including his first three wives.[citation needed] For instance he told his eldest child that his first wife was having an affair with the decorator when the child was only 8.[citation needed] No such affair was ever going on.[citation needed] When his second wife Britt Ekland brought their child onto the set of one of the films they starred in together he would often go into a rage and demand the child be taken off set.[citation needed] During a speech on the day of the release of one of his films with director and friend Blake Edwards he publicly attacked Edwards.[citation needed] After the death of his mother Sellers would often hit Ekland.[citation needed] He also often sniffed alkyl nitrites.[citation needed]




Sellers was married four times:


Actress Anne Howe (1951–1961). They had two children, Michael and Sarah, together. This marriage ended after she claimed he was having affairs with Wanda Jackson and Sophia Loren.[citation needed]The latter is disputed: Loren has maintained that Sellers had become obsessed with her, but she did not respond to his advances.[citation needed]

Swedish actress Britt Ekland (1964–1968). Peter and Britt had a daughter, Victoria, together. The couple appeared in two films together: After the Fox (1966) and The Bobo (1967).

Australian model Miranda Quarry (now the Countess of Stockton) (1970–1974)

English actress Lynne Frederick (1977–1980), who later married Sir David Frost.

Premature death and legacy

In 1964 at the age of 39, Sellers had suffered a near-fatal heart attack. This seriously damaged his heart and affected his health for the rest of his life. Sellers' condition worsened when he decided to put off seeking proper medical treatment, instead opting for "treatment" from psychic healers. [2] He also wore a pacemaker which caused him considerable problems. [citation needed]


A reunion dinner was scheduled to take place in London with Goon Show partners Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe in the latter part of July, 1980. This reunion never took place: on 22 July Sellers suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed in his London Dorchester hotel room. He died 36 hours later in a London hospital just after midnight on 24 July 1980, at the age 54. He was survived by his fourth wife, the English actress Lynne Frederick and his three children Michael, Sarah and Victoria. Ironically, at the time of his death he was due to undergo heart surgery within the month in L.A. The only personal item in his wallet was a photo of his first wife, Anne Howe.[citation needed]


On the day of his heart attack, Sellers had apparently meant to sign divorce papers and write his fourth wife out of his will.[citation needed] This did not take place, and she subsequently inherited most of his estate. His children Michael and Sarah received only ฃ800 (less than two thousand American dollars) each.[citation needed]


In his will, Sellers explicitly requested that Glenn Miller's song "In the Mood" be played at his funeral. The request is considered his last touch of humour: his friends knew he hated the song. [citation needed] His body was cremated, and he was interred at Golders Green Crematorium.


Roger Lewis wrote about the madness and bizarre behaviour of Sellers in his biography, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (Applause Books, 1997). Lewis' biography was adapted for the HBO/BBC movie, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004), with Geoffrey Rush in the title role.


In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, Sellers was voted among the top 20 greatest comedy acts ever by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.


Sellers' only son, Michael, died of a heart attack at age 52 during surgery on 24 July 2006, 26 years to the day after his father died of the same cause. He is survived by his second wife Alison, whom he married in 1986, and their two children.




 v • d • e Main Filmography

The Ladykillers (1955) | The Smallest Show on Earth (1957)  | The Naked Truth (1957)  | The Mouse That Roared (1959) | I'm All Right Jack (1959) | The Millionairess (1960) | Two Way Stretch (1960) | Battle of the Sexes (1960) | Only Two Can Play (1962) | The Wrong Arm of the Law (1962) | Lolita (1962) | The Pink Panther (1963)  | Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)  | The World of Henry Orient (1964) | A Shot in the Dark (1964) | What's New, Pussycat?(1965) | Casino Royale (1967) | The Bobo (1967) | The Party (1968) | I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968) | The Magic Christian (1969) | There's a Girl in My Soup (1970) | The Return of the Pink Panther (1975) | Murder by Death (1976) | The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) | The Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) | The Prisoner of Zenda (1979) | Being There (1979) | The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980) 



 Other Scripts

The Romance Of The Pink Panther was a script that Peter Sellers was working on at the time of his death. He had planned to complete the film without Blake Edwards. (More information can be found in the book Peter Sellers - A Celebration)



 Comedy Singles

Sellers released several comedy singles many of them produced by George Martin and released on the Parlophone record label. These include the following hits:


"Any Old Iron" (1957) UK # 17

"Goodness Gracious Me" (1960) with Sophia Loren UK # 4

"Bangers and Mash" (1961) UK # 22

"A Hard Day's Night" (1965) UK # 14

This was re-issued in 1993 and reached Number 52 in the UK Top 75 Singles chart. He covered several other Beatles hits, including Help! and She Loves You.




Peter Sellers Hit Discography is as follows:


The Best of Sellers (1959) UK # 3

Songs For Swinging Sellers (1959) UK # 3

Peter & Sophia (1960) UK # 5 with Sophia Loren

Fool Britania (1963) UK # 10 with Anthony Newley and Joan Collins.

How To Win An Election (1964) UK # 20 with Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan (Note: unlike The Last Goon Show Of All this release was not credited to The Goons.)





The above biography has been copied in part or in whole from an article on Wikipedia.org "The Free Encyclopedia."  It has been modified under the GNU Free Document License Section 5 in the following manner: (1) All links within the article have been removed, including text links such as "[#]"; (2) The "[Edit]" text and link have been removed [if you would like to update the article, you may do so from the original page]; (3) the table of Contents links and text have been removed; and (4) all of the sections of the original article have not been copied. All of the above text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Document License.

URL of Original Article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Sellers

Date Article Copied: January 2007

We will try to replace this article with an original biography in the near future, but we hope this will be of help to our visitors in the mean time.



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