Born September 8, 1925 – Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
Irreverent, unpredictable and profoundly talented comic, actor, and recording artist who rose to early prominence on BBC Radio’s Goon Show. Running from 1951 to 1960, Sellers (along with fellow Goons Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe) would play many characters (something he would repeat later in selected films) on the show which has been described as “the most influential comedy show of all time”.
His first real film success would come in Orders Are Orders (1954) and proceed upwardly through The Ladykillers (1955), The Mouse That Roared (1959, 3 characters), and British box office champ for 1960 I’m All Right Jack, with greater international attentions to follow beginning with the three character tour-de-force Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb, What’s New Pussycat, Casino Royale, and The Party. He would find his greatest success with his portrayal of Inspector Jacques Clouseau in The Pink Panther (1963), A Shot In The Dark (1964), The Return Of The Pink Panther (1975), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), and The Revenge Of The Pink Panther (1978). His last great performance would be in Being There (1979) for which he would be honoured with various awards including the Golden Globe for Best Actor and propel him onto the cover of Time Magazine.
Along with the Golden Globe, and various other honours bestowed, he was also appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Whether as a member of The Goons or though his many film roles, he would have a strong influence on generations of comics who followed, Monty Python, Firesign Theatre, Peter Cook, Robin Williams, Rob Brydon, Mike Myers, Christopher Guest, Eddie Murphy, Conan O’Brien, Rowan Atkinson, and Eddie Izzard among them.
Died July 24, 1980 – London, England