Stanley Kubrick said of Sellers: “Peter had the most responsive attitude of all the actors I’ve worked with to the things I think are funny. He was always at his best in dealing with the grotesque and horrifying ideas… His greatest gift was for the grisly, horrifying areas of humor that other actors wouldn’t think playable at all.”
Best known for his work in the Pink Panther series, Sellers appeared in two Kubrick films: as Clare Quilty in “Lolita” and as three characters in “Dr. Strangelove,” for which he earned an Academy Award nomination for best actor. In “Lolita’s” satirical American travelogue, Sellers incarnates three faces of his character, foreshadowing the creation of three very different characters in “Dr. Strangelove:” Captain Mandrake, President Muffley, and Dr. Strangelove.
Sellers was nominated for numerous awards over the course of his career, including the Oscar (three nominations) and the Golden Globe (seven nominations). He received a Golden Globe for his performance as Chance the gardener in “Being There” (1979).
Sellers was born on September 8, 1925, in Southsea, Portsmouth, England. The inscription “Life is a state of mind” appears on the character Rand’s tomb in “Being There” and serves as the last line in the movie. These words were also inscribed on Peter Seller’s own gravestone. He died on July 24, 1980, a year after the movie was released.
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