Aug 15, 2008

Peter Sellers

A Humble Tribute . . .

English actor Peter Sellers is credited by some as the greatest comedian of all time, and I have, amidst viewing his film works beyond The Pink Panther series (which, by no means, is the extent of his comedic genius, as perhaps better portrayed in films such as "Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" and "Lolita") come to the point of basically agreeing.

It's sad, after reading a bit of his biography, how nearly depressed he often was outside of his work. It has been often said that in playing so many brilliantly diverse roles he would feel he didn't really know his true self (exemplified by a few almost humorous quotes, from, below:).

"If you ask me to play myself, I will not know what to do. I do not know who or what I am."

"There used to be a me behind the mask, but I had it surgically removed."

"To see me as a person on screen would be one of the dullest experiences you could ever wish to experience."

"I'm a classic example of all humorists - only funny when I'm working."

Yet despite such sadness, he surely has inspired pure laughter and awe-filled wonder at his dynamic cinematic outputs throughout his film career. His humor, from my reckoning, is very subtle and even dry, and that's part of the greatness behind his creativity (the quote below demonstrates an element of this:).

"You only know what happiness is once you're married. But then it's too late."

Finally, some small snapshots of his career (though, surely, the pics only capture 1% of his actual uniqueness--99% of it is his outstanding acting, for which he was nominated for 3 Academy Awards). He has been an inspiration for countless comedic actors ever since . . .

Perhaps my favorite Seller's role: Ex-Nazi scientist wheelchair-ridden (with a black-gloved hand and arm expressing a life of their own) Dr. Strangelove.

Another brilliant role: US Pres. Merkin Muffley in the film, "Dr. Strangelove."

Just another Seller's moment perhaps . . .

The level-headed Group Cpt. Lionel Mandrake completing the trio played in the film "Dr. Strangelove . . ."

His most famous role, naturally, as Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau (note: the character really became immortal following the first Pink Panther, where he added the thick and outrageous French accent).

From the film "Being There", which I will be seeing in the near future, where he plays a "simple gardener" named Chance.

Clare Quilty, from "Lolita", where his character actually portrays 3 different people (i.e. a rather drunk self, a rather bored and confidently poised self, a rambling police officer, and finally a German psychologist).

Thank you, Peter Sellers.

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