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.