Peter Sellers brought joy to millions of people as Inspector Clouseau, the blundering investigator of the Pink Panther film series. He played important roles in classic films of the 1960s like Lolita (1962) and Dr. Strangelove (1964). Sellers also helped the film The Producers receive distribution by taking out ads in the trades.
At the age of 16, Sellers entered the entertainment industry as a drummer for numerous jazz ensembles. Sellers worked with Sophia Loren on a 1960 album entitled Peter and Sophia. A novelty hit off the record, “Goodness Gracious Me,” reached the number four slot on the U.K. pop music charts.
An uncanny number of connections to the Beatles appeared in Peter Sellers’ life. In addition to his friendship with both Ringo Starr and George Harrison, Peter Sellers released two comedy albums with producer George Martin, the same legendary producer who later worked with the Beatles. Sellers reappeared on the pop charts with a comic rendition of “A Hard Day’s Night” in the style of a dramatic recitation of Richard III. During the production of the White Album, Ringo gave Sellers a tape of rough mixes. After its sale at Sellers’ estate auction, the highly sought-after bootleg became known as The Peter Sellers Sessions.
Some eccentricities are also associated with the actor. He found specific colors, like green, for example, that gave off strange, disturbing vibrations. Director Blake Edwards received a call from Sellers late one night after shooting a scene for a Pink Panther movie in which the actor claimed to have received an idea on the script directly from talking to God. However, the idea was not good enough to make the final cut.After surviving an astonishing 15 heart attacks, Peter Sellers succumbed to heart disease in late July of 1980 while working in London on the film Romance of the Pink Panther.
Sellers crossed paths with John Cleese and Graham Chapman, David Frost, Marty Feldman & others in the -60s.