Is Peter Sellers Living or Dead?

Has British film actor, comedian and singer Peter Sellers died? Or is he still alive?

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British film actor, comedian and singer

Peter Sellers is ...

Born 8 Sep 1925 in Southsea
Died 24 Jul 1980 in London
Age54 years, 10 months
Causemyocardial infarction
Peter Sellers
Peter Sellers
Portrait of the British actor Peter Sellers at his home in Belgravia, London, England.

About Peter Sellers

Peter Sellers, CBE (born Richard Henry Sellers; 8 September 1925 – 24 July 1980) was an English film actor, comedian and singer. He performed in the BBC Radio comedy series The Goon Show, featured on a number of hit comic songs and became known to a worldwide audience through his many film characterisations, among them Chief Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther series of films. Born in Portsmouth, Sellers made his stage debut at the Kings Theatre, Southsea, when he was two weeks old. He began accompanying his parents in a variety act that toured the provincial theatres. He first worked as a drummer and toured around England as a member of the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA). He developed his mimicry and improvisational skills during a spell in Ralph Reader's wartime Gang Show entertainment troupe, which toured Britain and the Far East. After the war, Sellers made his radio debut in ShowTime, and eventually became a regular performer on various BBC radio shows. During the early 1950s, Sellers, along with Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine, took part in the successful radio series The Goon Show, which ended in 1960. Sellers began his film career during the 1950s. Although the bulk of his work was comedic, often parodying characters of authority such as military officers or policemen, he also performed in other film genres and roles. Films demonstrating his artistic range include I'm All Right Jack (1959), Stanley Kubrick's Lolita (1962) and Dr. Strangelove (1964), What's New, Pussycat? (1965), Casino Royale (1967), The Party (1968), Being There (1979) and five films of the Pink Panther series (1963–78). Sellers's versatility enabled him to portray a wide range of comic characters using different accents and guises, and he would often assume multiple roles within the same film, frequently with contrasting temperaments and styles. Satire and black humour were major features of many of his films, and his performances had a strong influence on a number of later comedians. Sellers was nominated three times for an Academy Award, twice for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performances in Dr. Strangelove and Being There, and once for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film (1959). He won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role twice, for I'm All Right Jack and for the original Pink Panther film, The Pink Panther (1963) and was nominated as Best Actor three times. In 1980 he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his role in Being There, and was previously nominated three times in the same category. Turner Classic Movies calls Sellers "one of the most accomplished comic actors of the late 20th century." In his personal life, Sellers struggled with depression and insecurities. An enigmatic figure, he often claimed to have no identity outside the roles that he played. His behaviour was often erratic and compulsive, and he frequently clashed with his directors and co-stars, especially in the mid-1970s when his physical and mental health, together with his alcohol and drug problems, were at their worst. Sellers was married four times, and had three children from his first two marriages. He died as a result of a heart attack in 1980, aged 54. English filmmakers the Boulting brothers described Sellers as "the greatest comic genius this country has produced since Charles Chaplin."


On 21 July 1980 Sellers arrived in London from Geneva. He checked into the Dorchester hotel, before visiting Golders Green Crematorium for the first time to see the location of his parents' ashes. He had plans to attend a reunion dinner with his Goon Show partners Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe, scheduled for the evening of 22 July. On the day of the dinner, Sellers took lunch in his hotel suite and shortly afterwards collapsed from a heart attack. He was taken to the Middlesex Hospital, London, and died just after midnight on 24 July 1980, aged 54.

Following Sellers's death, fellow actor Richard Attenborough said that Sellers "had the genius comparable to Chaplin", while the Boulting brothers considered Sellers as "a man of enormous gifts; and these gifts he gave to the world. For them, he is assured of a place in the history of art as entertainment." Burt Kwouk, who appeared as Cato in the Pink Panther films, stated that "Peter was a well-loved actor in Britain ... the day he died, it seemed that the whole country came to a stop. Everywhere you went, the fact that Peter had died seemed like an umbrella over everything". Director Blake Edwards thought that "Peter was brilliant. He had an enormous facility for finding really unusual, unique facets of the character he was playing". Sellers's friend and Goon Show colleague Spike Milligan was too upset to speak to the press at the time of Sellers's death, while fellow Goon Harry Secombe said "I'm shattered. Peter was such a tremendous artist. He had so much talent, it just oozed out of him"; in dark humour, referring to the missed dinner the Goons had planned, he added, "Anything to avoid paying for dinner". Secombe later declared to journalists "Bluebottle is deaded now". Milligan later said that "it's hard to say this, but he died at the right time." The Daily Mail described Sellers as "the greatest comic talent of his generation as well as a womanising drug-taker who married four times in a fruitless search for happiness", a "flawed genius" who, once he latched on to a comic idea, "loved nothing more than to carry it to extremes".

A private funeral service was held at Golders Green Crematorium on 26 July, conducted by Sellers's old friend, Canon John Hester. Sellers's final joke was the playing of "In the Mood" by Glenn Miller, a tune he hated. His body was cremated and his ashes were interred at Golders Green Crematorium in London. After her death in 1994, the ashes of his widow Lynne Frederick were co-interred with his. A memorial service was held at St Martin-in-the-Fields on 8 September 1980—what would have been Sellers's 55th birthday. Close friend Lord Snowdon read the twenty-third Psalm, Harry Secombe sang "Bread of Heaven" and the eulogy was read by David Niven.


Peter Sellers has worked on the following films:

Being There
1979 film by Hal Ashby
The Pink Panther
1963 film by Blake Edwards
The Pink Panther Strikes Again
1976 film by Blake Edwards
The Party
1968 comedy film directed by Blake Edwards
Trail of the Pink Panther
1982 film by Blake Edwards
The Return of the Pink Panther
1975 film by Blake Edwards
A Shot in the Dark
1964 film by Blake Edwards
The Ladykillers
1955 crime comedy film
The Magic Christian
1969 film by Joseph McGrath
The Road to Hong Kong
1962 film by Norman Panama, Melvin Frank
The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu
1980 film by Peter Sellers, Richard Quine
Murder by Death
1976 film by Robert Moore
The World of Henry Orient
1964 film by George Roy Hill
Revenge of the Pink Panther
1978 film directed by Blake Edwards
Tom Thumb
1958 film by George Pal
What's New Pussycat?
1965 comedy film directed by Clive Donner
The Man Who Never Was
1956 film by Ronald Neame
The Mouse That Roared
1959 film by Jack Arnold
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
1972 film by William T. Sterling
I'm All Right Jack
1959 film by John Boulting, Roy Boulting
The Wrong Box
1966 film by Bryan Forbes
Ghost in the Noonday Sun
1973 British comedy film
The Millionairess
1960 British romantic comedy film
Heavens Above!
The Prisoner of Zenda
1979 film by Richard Quine
Never Let Go
British thriller film
Carlton-Browne of the F.O.
The Smallest Show on Earth
1957 film by Basil Dearden
There's a Girl in My Soup
1970 film by John Boulting, Roy Boulting
The Dock Brief
1962 film by James Hill
Le Crocodile
cancelled film project
Soft Beds, Hard Battles
1974 film by John Boulting, Roy Boulting
The Battle of the Sexes
1959 film by Charles Crichton
The Naked Truth
1957 film by Mario Zampi
Two-Way Stretch
1960 film by Robert Day
I Love You, Alice B. Toklas
1968 film by Hy Averback
The Wrong Arm of the Law
1963 film by Cliff Owen
Down Among the Z Men
1952 film by Maclean Rogers
Only Two Can Play
1962 film by Sidney Gilliat
The Great McGonagall
1974 film by Joseph McGrath
Up the Creek
1958 film by Val Guest
Penny Points to Paradise
1951 film by Tony Young
The Bobo
1967 film by Robert Parrish
Orders Are Orders
1954 film by David Paltenghi
1970 film by Alvin Rakoff
The Blockhouse
Waltz of the Toreadors
1962 film by John Guillermin
A Day at the Beach
Where Does It Hurt?
1972 film by Rod Amateau
The Optimists of Nine Elms
1974 film by Anthony Simmons
El Rey en Londres
1966 film by Aníbal Uset