Author(s): Roger Lewis
Sellers has been acknowledged as one of the screen's greatest comedians and the greatest British comic since Charlie Chaplin. Roger Lewis shows how Sellers succeeded, and why it was at such terrible cost to himself. Working from interviews with his family, wives, girlfriends and co-stars, Roger Lewis tells the story of this only son of Jewish parents, who began his career by working backstage at his uncle's theatre in Ilfracombe. Conscripted into the airforce, he began performing in Ralph Reader's gang shows, then after the war he met Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan and created the Goon Show. From this grew Peter Sellers's career in the cinema. Shadowing this success was a history of increasingly bizzare behaviour, from the almost psychotic violence he inflicted on his first wife, to his compulsive promiscuity in the early Sixties, to the drug abuse which brought on a massive heart attack during his honeymoon with Britt Eckland, to his humiliating and ultimately self-destructive obsession with Lynne Fredericks. Roger Lewis looks for the truth about the man and the performer, sees what secrets emerge from his films, and examines the extent of Seller's insanity and its effect on his work. First published 1994.