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Peter Sellers was said to have an unsettled demeanor, which might explain why he spent so much time unloading his thoughts during the many interviews in which he participated. When he speaks, uninhibited by scripts and producers, we get to see more genuine Sellers. Still, his ability to transform into his various characters demonstrates just how brilliant he truly was.
1974 Interview with Michael Parkinson
Peter Sellers, in one of his most entertaining interviews, shows us the reason his is one of the heroes of comedy. In a 1974 interview with the famous English journalist, Michael Parkinson, he reveals events about his past that led to his eventual rise to fame. As he talks about his father and his influence on the comedian’s musical development, we catch a glimpse at his fondness of the veteran pianist. You may recall, he was deeply affected by the death of his dad. We get to hear the impersonation that landed Sellers his breakthrough role on BBC Radio’s “The Goon Show,” during which he performed his hilarious impersonations with a cast of three other comedians. We even see outtakes from “The Return of the Pink Panther.” The interview becomes revealing as Sellers begin to open up about his relationships and he confesses to being happier having moved to a new level in his career. The segment ends with an exclusive Peter Sellers original musical performance.
Peter Sellers does “Quick Change” on The Late Late Show
Appearing on The Late Late Show in 1970, Sellers adeptly demonstrates his skill in quickly changing characters while engaged in his performances. In this fast-paced interview, we see him as the genius we all know him to be. The “quick change artist” accepts the challenge to put his skills to the test after admitting to being a bit rusty. The music begins and Sellers disappears, and when we see him, 15 seconds later, he has transformed himself into an entirely new character.
Opening Up on the Late Night Line-Up
In a 1965 interview on the “Late Night Line-Up,” Peter Sellers opens up about his heart attacks and the process of recouping. When asked about his ordeal, he mentions never losing his sense of humor afterward. He admits, jokes about death “are even funnier.” At the time, his most previous heart attack was the previous year. He goes on to explain the origin of some of his original character, many of them based off people he’s met throughout his experiences in comedy and in Hollywood. When asked about his reaction to his onscreen characters, he says he is a “giggler,” and he has a hard time holding his composure when playing his comical personalities. People who worked on set with him have often spoken about his ability to completely engulf himself in the roles he takes on. Towards the end of the interview, he explains how he was fired from a job
Doing the “Elephant Sketch” with Dean Martin
Sellers appearsin the studiofor a 1973 interview with Dean Martin, and recruits the hosts assistance in performing his “Elephant Sketch.” Dean enters the scene where Sellers, who is already seated and dressed as a doctor, begins in his Irish accent. The skit goes something like this:
Martin: Are you a doctor?
Sellers: No, I’m a specialist.
Martin: Oh. Well, what do you specialize in?
Sellers: I specialize in sick people.
Martin: Oh. Well, you’re just the man I wanted to see. I haven’t been feeling myself.
Sellers: Well who have you been feeling?
Martin along with the audience burst into fits of wild laughter and applause, and the sketch continues.
Peter Sellers is one of the most legendary actors of the 20th century, not only for his comedy and versatility, but also his ability to improvise. Those who knew him and worked closely enough to witness his methods first-hand have told stories of his ingenious improve. It has been said that a large number of his lines were thought up during production. These are just a few examples of the comedic visionary in action.
A Shot in the Dark
After being summoned to investigate a murder, Inspector Clouseau aka The Pink Panther, finds himself interrogating a butler and a maid, who is suspected of pulling the trigger. The Butler, while explaining his version of the events that transpired,indicates the maid, Maria Gambrelli, who is played by Elke Sommer. When the butler asks, conveying disbelief, “You believe her?” Clouseau responds with the ominous words, “I believe everything, and I believe nothing. I suspect everyone, and I suspect no one.” Classic!
“Nothing matters but the facts. Without them, the science of criminal investigation is nothing more than a guessing game,” Clouseau explains. He is convinced that Maria Gambrelli is covering for the true murderer, which would have explained the “still smoking gun” left in her hand after the shooting. Soon after being removed from the investigation, he’s back on the case, by some miracle, educating HerculeLaJoy on his masterful insight into the cases intricate details. Once he has expertly laid out the intricate details of the event, he leaves us with his famous line, “What was that you said?”
The Pink Panther scores, once again, with his perfectly timed charm. During a brief visit to discuss the case, Maria Gambrelli, manages to transform the moderately arrogant Clouseau into an awkward Casanova. In an attempt to impress her with a show of strength, he makes a call to address her complaint about prison conditions (where she is being temporarily detained). While waiting for response from the prison superintendent, he tells Gambrelli,“sometimes it’s necessary to cut through the red tape and cut directly at the heart of the matter. “Brilliant!
The Pink Panther Strikes Again
Upon accepting the task of capturing former Chief Inspector Dryfus, who has escaped an asylum and threatened the world, Clouseau delivers a moving speech. In response to Superintendent Quinlan’s warning that the job won’t be easy. “Nothing ever is,” Clouseau says, with confidence.“Perhaps that is why I always fail where others have succeeded. To me, the greater the odds, the greater the challenge (pronounced shallonge).” Afterwards, he exits with is famous words, “the case is solved.”
The Return of the Pink Panther
I this particular scene, Clouseau is confronted by a livid Chief Inspector Dryfus, who has been forced to reinstate the disaster prone police offer. When Dryfus screams, “I want you out of my office in five seconds!” Clouseau replies, with that remarkable Pink Panther wit, “Five seconds is nothing. I can be out of here in three.” And once again, “the case is solved.”
Revenge of the Pink Panther
Taking on the ultimate challenge, Inspector Clouseau, who is thought to be dead, goes undercover as Chief inspector Dryfus and infiltrates what turns out to be Cato’s “Chinese nookie house.” As he is overtaken by Tanya, who is an employee of the establishment, he exclaims, “I warn you, Tanya that eats the Lotus. I am opposed to women’slibs. Man is the master and women’s place is in the home!” This has to be one of his gut-shattering, laugh out loud pieces of dialog in the movie, if not the series.
The credits for “Revenge of the Pink Panther roll,” and Inspector Clouseau appropriately enters a costume shop in search of his newest disguise. Minutes later, he is decked out in a pint sized Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec costume, which he wears for the first half hour of the movie. Unsurprisingly, the master of concealment puts on an acclaim-worthy performance, finding himself neck deep in the usual capers. In this installment, he survives an attempt on his life and goes undercover to find the man (or woman) responsible. In these six scenes, the Pink Panther goes incognito, inducing a wave of spleen-rupturing amusement.
Claude Russo (Transvestite)
He inadvertently masquerades as a transvestite after an unfortunate incident that only the great awkward inspector could find himself in. Against his better judgment, he picks up a strange and slightly pushy woman at a bus stop. Seconds later, she’s holding a gun to his temple and ordering him to take off his clothes. As it turns out, Claude Russo is not the delicate female, Clouseau believed her to be. After she commandeers his famous trench coat and hat, leaving him stranded with a lovely mink and a pair of heels, he is forced to take embrace a new identity like only the famed inspector can.
Chief Inspector Dryfus
His first official disguise in Revenge of the Pink Panther may be his most challenging, one which he miraculously pulls off. After the Claude fiasco lands him in a mental institution, he escapes by donning himself as Chief inspector Dryfus and incidentally lands himself in a suspicious establishment. Luckily, his convenient getup grants him access to the business, which turns out to be managed by his assistant, Cato, who had mistaken him for dead.
Next, Clouseau steps into the role of a priest, serving at the inspector’s own funeral, ironically. He reveals himself to a disappointed Dryfus, striking with impeccable, comedic mastery. In just over a minute Peter Sellers demonstrates why is a master of satire.
By the timeClouseau resurfaces, he has transformed himself into a Swedish sailor “from the salty sea.” In this disastrously hilarious segment, he tucks one knee into a wooden peg, and mounts an inflatable parrot on his shoulder. This is one of the inspector’s many “close call” scenes, prompting more than a few clenched jaws. That is, until we realize the man who greets him at the pier is actually an old acquaintance rather than the potentially whistleblower we originally suspected. Still, the costume itself is a nice touch. Well played, Sellers. Well played.
Mr. and Mrs. Lo Kee
Sellers unleashes an unforgettable performance, in Hong Kong, as the male half of aficticious Asian couple. It’s difficult to keep a straight face watching him, in his full kimono and weaved, conical hat, sign Mr. and Mrs. Lo Kee into the hotel guestbook. With Simone at his side and Cato somewhere in the vicinity, he renders one of the movie’s more uneventful charades.
With Cato and his new friend, Simone, Clouseau move to intercept an exchange between Douvier and a New York mafia godfather named Julio Scallini. What makes Peter Sellers or the Pink Panther, in this case, such a great entertainer when he steps into his alternative roles is the suspense that the audience feels as the various scenes unfold. The bits are funny, hilarious in fact, but you always wonder whether he will actually pull it off. Here, things move forward without a hitch, for a few minutes at least. Then the notoriously rich antics begin.
Like many famous actors, Peter Sellers was known not only by the movies roles he played, but also by the beautiful women he dated. When you’re as famous as Seller’s had become, you’re going to accumulate a following among the opposite sex. In this case we mean women. Based on information found in letters and statements made open to the public, he was open about many of his feelings. And we know he was a man perpetually moved to action, which had a great deal to do with his ever-increasing success. We’ve listed some of his most talked about relationships with some of the most influential women in Hollywood. This is a snapshot, in part at least, of one of comedy’s brightest.
When you have enough of whatever Peter Sellers had to get a princess on your arm. Well, you’ve pretty much arrived. Some might consider that the pinnacle of success. From 1966 to 1969, that’s exactly what Peter Sellers had achieved. And let’s face it. He had a string of movies under his belt. He was funny and witty. One can only imagine the crowd pleasing jokes that rolled over the tip of his tongue. During that time, hopeful onlookers were expecting things to get serious, already hearing wedding bells for the young couple. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out. After rumors of secret meetings, the chemistry eventually fizzled out.
Three years after their marriage, the Swedish actress, who was 25 years old at the time, shared the screen with Peter Sellers in the film, “The Bobo.” The couple dated, briefly, and it wasn’t long before the smitten Peter Sellers was calling her Mrs. Britt Sellers, on paper of course. Sellers was 39 when the couple tied the knot, and he was absolutely captivated by her, according to his own admission and that of his close friends. Reportedly, were having trouble as a result of work-related complications, and Sellers was stressed over losing her. After just four years, the couple called it quits.
Not long after Sellers ended his marriage to Britt Eckland he had swept the beautiful Miranda Querry, and against his better judgement he decided to give it another go. The couple married in 1970. She was a 23-year-old model and he was television superstar. The marriage continued for four years, with events having already signaled the couple’s demise, and then ended in 1974.
Peter Sellers had quickly become infatuated by the lovely Italian actress with whom he co-starred in “The Millionairess.” Reportedly, this was during the time his marriage to Miranda Querry was winding to an end. Loren, after lighting up the movie screen, had apparently done a similar number on Sellars’ heart. It’s not that heart to believe, unless you missed her stunning performance as EpifaniaPererga. Although the two never married, he was open about his feelings for her and was said to have regretted not making her his wife.
Peter Sellers’ relationship with Anne Howe was not as high profile as many of his others, but it is important to note the length of their union outlasted those he shared with the famous starlets he was known to have courted. Not much is known, publicly, about her. She was evidently a little known actress who managed to win Peter Sellers over. The couple married in 1951 and stayed together for 12 years, ending the in 1963. Sellers’ son described tensionin the home. Sellers had become distraught after the death of his father, and he was unhappy with his career, at that point.