Mr. Strangelove: a biography of Peter Sellers
Screamingly funny, desperately unhappy, Peter Sellers broke all the rules of comedy with an explosive talent that made him a beloved figure in world cinema. Now, acclaimed biographer Ed Sikov offers a true behind-the-scenes look - based on dozens of interviews and exhaustive research - at the work and mysterious inner life of this extraordinarily gifted, exceptionally troubled comic genius.
The Goon Show made him famous; the Pink Panther movies made him rich; Lolita and Dr. Strangelove gave him artistic respectability. And yet Sellers - whose blistering improvisations could ruin takes by sending the casts and crews of his films into peals of uncontrollable laughter while the camera was running - remained confused and lonely, difficult to work with, volatile one minute and hopelessly lethargic the next. Sikov traces the development of Sellers's unique humor from his 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, and on to his relationships with costars such as Alec Guinness, Sophia Loren, and Shirley MacLaine; his work with directors such 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.