Peter Sellers’s explosive talent made him a beloved figure in world cinema and continues to attract new audiences. With his darkly comic performances in Dr. Strangelove and Lolita and his outrageously funny appearances as Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther films, he became one of the most popular movie stars of his time. Sellers himself identified most personally with the character he played in Being There–an utterly empty man on whom others projected what they wanted, or needed, to see.
In this lively and exhaustively researched biography, Ed Sikov offers unique insight into Sellers’s comedy style. Beginning with Sellers’ lonely childhood with a mother who wouldn’t let go of him, through his service in the Royal Air Force and his success on BBC Radio’s The Goon Show, Sikov goes on to detail his relationships with co-stars such as Alec Guinness, Sophia Loren, and Shirley MacLaine; his work with such directors as Stanley Kubrick, Billy Wilder, and Blake Edwards; his four failed marriages; his ridiculously short engagement to Liza Minnelli; and all the other peculiarities of this eccentric man’s unpredictable life.
The most insightful biography ever written of this endlessly fascinating star, Mr. Strangelove is as comic and tragic as Peter Sellers was himself.