W Web Page No 2106
15th November 2014
First Picture: Goon Show Days
Second Picture: Inspector Closeau
Third Picture: With Sophia Loren
After all this time I have come to realize that I have never dealt with one of Portsmouth’s famous sons, Peter Sellers. He was incredibly versatile, playing Chief Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther films with as much ease as Clare Quilty in Lolita. He was known as a Master of Mimicry and it was on this platform that he came to fame.
He was born on 8th September 8, 1925 in Portsmouth as Richard Henry Sellers. He was literally born into show business. His parents were Music Hall performers, and he arrived while they were appearing at the Kings Theatre in Southsea, in fact he made his stage debut at the Kings Theatre when he was two weeks old. He began accompanying his parents in a variety act that toured the provincial theatres. He went on to study dance as a child before attending St. Aloysius’ Boarding and Day School for Boys in Islington, this was strange as this was a Roman Catholic school and his father was Protestant and mother Jewish!
As a teenager, he learned to play the drums and played with jazz bands and toured England as a member of the Entertainments National Service Association.
At the age of 18, he joined the Royal Air Force during World War II. There he became part of a group of entertainers who performed for the troops. As well as playing his drums he also did impersonations of some of the officers.
After the war, he struggled to launch his comic career, this was a hard road but after several previous attempts, he managed to land work with the BBC by winning over radio producer Roy Speer during a phone conversation. His impressive impersonations helped make him a beloved radio comedian. In 1951, Sellers joined fellow comics Spike Mulligan, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine and The Goon Show was born.
The success of The Goon Show helped Peter Sellers break into the film industry. After appearing in Down Among the Z Men (1952) with his radio colleagues, he managed to land a small part in the comedy The Ladykillers (1955) with Alec Guinness, a film which was destined to become a British Film classic. His career really took off in 1959 with I’m All Right, Jack and The Mouse That Roared. In The Mouse That Roared, he played three characters, including a duchess and X. This successful film helped introduce Peter Sellers to American movie-goers.
The Goon Show ended in 1960, but the program proved to be a strong influence on British comedy. It paved the way for such future comedy shows as Monty Python's Flying Circus.
Peter Sellers hit his stride in the early 1960’s with two of his most famous roles. It was at this time that he introduced audiences to the world’s most bumbling detective, Inspector Jacques Closeau, in Blake Edwards’s The Pink Panther (1963). The film proved to be such a huge success that it was quickly followed by the sequel A Shot in the Dark (1964).
Moving on he starred in Stanley Kubrick’s war satire Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), he once again showed his ability to tackle multiple characters, including the title role.
In 1964, he had his first heart attack. He was reportedly clinically dead for two and a half minutes before being revived. This incident marked the beginning of his heart troubles, and he later had a pacemaker installed to help manage his heartbeat. Making a full recovery, he continued to work in films but his films of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s had some decidedly mixed results.
It was his famed character Inspector Closeau that gave Peter Sellers a boost at the box office with 1974’s with The Return of the Pink Panther. This latest hit spawned three more Pink Panther movies. His best performance, however, was yet to come.
He earned rave reviews for his subtle, understated turn as the simple gardener in the film Chance in Being There. His character spouts ideas and comments based on his years of television-watching, which are confused by others as words of wisdom. For this he earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance.
He also had a reasonably successful recording career with albums such a Songs for Swinging Sellers and The Best of Sellers but who can forget the classic recordings with Sophia Loren (the only women that he said he truly loved). What can I add to that just to say Goodness Gracious Me!
After making this his career seemed to be on an upswing. But he never lived to realize this new wave of potential. He died in London hospital on July 24th , 1980, after suffering another heart attack. He was survived by his fourth wife Lynne Frederick, and three children from previous marriages. His son Michael and daughter Sarah came from his first marriage to Anne Howe and daughter Victoria came from his second marriage to actress Britt Ekland. He was also briefly married to Miranda Quarry from 1970 to 1974.
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A few years ago we were in the Buffalo Bill museum in Cody Wyoming ,the towns named after him.On his visits to England I noticed he put on shows in Portsmouth. North End was mentioned but I don't know if they meant the village as it would have been or north of the island ,either way it would need a large space. Any ideas?
News and Views:
News and Views:
Acker Bilk dies.
Acker Bilk who personified the trad jazz revival of the 1950s and '60s, has died after a lengthy illness at the age of 85.His most famous song Stranger on the Shore was the UK's biggest selling single of 1962 and made him an international star.
He was born Bernard Stanley Bilk, he changed his name to Acker - Somerset slang for "mate" - after learning to play the clarinet in the Army. His last concert was in August 2013.
Born in Pensford in Somerset, he tried a number of careers before borrowing a clarinet and copying recordings of famous jazz musicians while in the Army. He formed his first band in Bristol after his demobilisation. Known for his goatee, bowler hat and fancy waistcoat, he was awarded an MBE in 2001 for services to the music industry.
He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2000 but recovered and continued to play concerts, the last of which was at the Brecon Festival last year.
He leaves his wife Jean, daughter Jenny and son Pete.
On this Day 15th November1960-1965
On 15/11/1960 the number one single was It's Now Or Never - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Tottenham Hotspur. The top rated TV show was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £ and 13.68 were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was Conservative Party Political Broadcast (all channels).
On 15/11/1961 the number one single was Little Sister/His Latest Flame - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Another Black & White Minstrell Show - George Mitchell Minstrels. The top rated TV show was The Royal Variety Performance (ATV) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 15/11/1962 the number one single was Lovesick Blues - Frank Ifield and the number one album was Out of the Shadows - Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 15/11/1963 the number one single was You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry & the Pacemakers and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 15/11/1964 the number one single was (There's) Always Something There to Remind Me - Sandy Shaw and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 15/11/1965 the number one single was Get Off Of My Cloud - Rolling Stones and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was The Royal Variety Performance (ATV) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.