Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers

Sikov, Ed

Published by Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.: Hyperion Books, 2002
ISBN 10: 0786866640 / ISBN 13: 9780786866649
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Synopsis: 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.

Review: How do you write the biography of a cipher? That's the daunting challenge veteran Hollywood biographer Ed Sikov tackles in exploring the life of one of the 20th century's most acclaimed comic actors. Peter Sellers's uncanny talents as a mimic informed everything from English radio's Goon Show and the highly profitable--if increasingly broad--cycle of Inspector Clouseau Pink Panther films to his brilliant turn as Chauncey Gardiner in Being There, a role that had all too many discomforting parallels to Sellers' own cryptic personality. Sikov reveals that the man long hailed as comedy's greatest chameleon was in fact a tragic, troubled personal vacuum, the only child of a literal stage mother who indulged his every whim, yet left him a distinct void for a soul. Sikov interviews many of the relatives, intimates, and survivors of Sellers that filled his alternately strange and spectacular life, while thoroughly chronicling every professional triumph and more than a few missteps. Sikov's straightforward reporting, seasoned by his dry wit, details the parts that made up the man, but the sum remains a compelling enigma. As Lolita and Dr. Strangelove director Stanley Kubrick, a riddle himself, once said of Sellers: "There is no such person." --Jerry McCulley

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter ...
Publisher: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.: Hyperion Books
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New
Edition: 1st Edition

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