Born: 8 September 1925
Died: 24 July 1980 (heart attack )
Birthplace: Southsea, England
Best known as: Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther comedies
A chameleon of an actor, Sellers played Inspector Clouseau
, the bumbling Paris police detective in the long-running Pink Panther
film series. Sellers played the character in six films, ranging from The Pink Panther
(1964) to Trail of the Pink Panther
(1982, assembled from old footage after his death). Sellers was a Royal Air Force entertainer during World War II, then gained public fame on The Goon Show
, a Monty Pythonesque radio comedy revue of the 1950s. His film career blossomed in 1964, when he played three roles in the dark 1964 comedy Dr. Strangelove
, directed by Stanley Kubrick
and co-starring George C. Scott
. (Sellers was meek President Merklin Muffley, stiff British Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, and ex-Nazi genius Dr. Strangelove.) Multiple roles became a Sellers signature; he played two or more characters in Lolita
(1962), The Prisoner of Zenda
(1979) and other films. His penultimate role, as Chance, the gently befuddled gardener in the 1979 film Being There
(with Shirley MacLaine
), included a famous line about TV: "I like to watch." Despite his long acting career, Sellers never won an Academy Award. He was nominated for acting twice: for Dr. Strangelove
and for Being There
Sellers was also Oscar-nominated as co-director of the slapstick short subject The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film (1959); he lost to Histoire d’un Poisson Rouge (Story of a Red Fish), produced by Jacques Cousteau… According to the official website of Sellers’s estate, “Sellers married four times, to Anne Howe (Sept. 15, 1951), Britt Ekland (Feb. 19, 1964), Miranda Quarry (Aug. 24, 1970) and Lynne Frederick (Feb. 18, 1977). He also sired three children: Michael (April 2, 1954), Sarah (Oct. 16, 1957) and Victoria (Jan. 20, 1965)”… The original Pink Panther film spawned a related animated character, also called The Pink Panther.
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