Peter Sellers via Wikimedia
CAIRO – 8 September 2017: September 8 is the birthday of the late English comedic actor Peter Sellers, known for ‘Dr Strangelove,’ the Pink Panther, and hailed as one of the world’s greatest comedians.
Sellars was born in 1925 in England to a family of vaudeville performers. Originally named Richard Henry Sellers, their parents called him Peter after his stillborn older brother. Sellerswas only two days old when he first appeared on stage, carried in the arms of his parents at King’s Theatre.
It would mark the start of his lifelong relationship with the world of acting.
Sellers originally studied dancing and music in his youth, working as a drummer for jazz bands. When he was drafted into the army at 18, Sellers entertained soldiers by working his drums and performing humorous impersonations of them in-between 1943 and 1946.
After his service ended, Sellers struggled to find work as a comedian until his lucky break in 1948, when Sellers phoned BBC’s Roy Speer, producer of the radio program ‘Show Time’ and won a spot there. Sellers became highly desired, and later went to work on BBC’s ‘Crazy People’, where he won audiences over with his comedic impersonations.
Sellers’s start in radio was but a stepping stone to his time in film, and his claim to fame came with 1959’s satirical cold-war film ‘The Mouse that Roared,’ a U.S. movie that featured Seller in not one, but three separate roles. Sellers was now becoming an internationally known name, and as the 1960’s came along his career would only skyrocket.
Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 comedy masterpiece ‘Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb’ featured Sellers in the titular role and two others, and won the wildly varied actor an Oscar nominated for Best Leading Role. Then came Sellers role in the 1963’s ‘Pink Panther’, starring as a hapless French detective named Inspector Clouseau, becoming one of his most iconic and beloved roles as he stuck to the franchise until his death.
Sellers would receive another Oscar nomination for 1979’s ‘Being There’, which featured seller in a more subdued, subtle yet no less hilarious role as a gardener mistaken for being more wise than he really is.
Alas, Sellers passed away on July 24, 1980 from a heart attack, at only 55 years old. He left behind a legacy of laughs and a comedic genius that can never be replicated.