Peter Sellers was the perfect comedic actor to play Inspector Clouseau in Blake Edwards’ “Pink Panther” movies. We remember his remarkable life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Peter Sellers was the perfect comedic actor to play Inspector Clouseau in Blake Edwards’ “Pink Panther” movies. Though there have been other actors to play the character, nobody tops Sellers in the role. He played four main characters in Stanley Kurbrick’s classic dark comedy “Dr. Strangelove.” We remember his remarkable life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2016: Marni Nixon, U.S. singer who ghost sang for leading actresses in films including “The King and I,” dies at 86.
2013: Virginia Johnson, U.S. sexologist known best as part of the Masters and Johnson sexuality research team, dies of complications from several illnesses at 88.
Hundreds of couples, not all of them married, would participate in the observed research, later discussed in their 1966 book, Human Sexual Response. That book and their second, 1970’s Human Sexual Inadequacy, were both best-sellers, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. For the next 20 years, Masters and Johnson were celebrities, the topic of late-night talk show hosts and on the cover of news magazines. “The family feeling was they changed the study of sex with the landmark publishing of their books,” said her son, Scott Johnson. Read more
For 13 television seasons, Hemsley played George Jefferson, first as an occasional visitor on All in the Family, and later as the patriarch and star of The Jeffersons. Hemsley was initially reluctant to take the part, as he was enjoying a successful career on Broadway, starring in Purlie, a musical based on an Ossie Davis play. But producer Norman Lear said he was willing to wait, and Hemsley agreed to join the cast when Purlie‘s run ended. Read more
2012: Chad Everett, U.S. actor who appeared in many movies and television series but is known best for his starring role on the series Medical Center, dies of lung cancer at 75.
With a career spanning more than 40 years, Everett guest-starred on such TV series as The Love Boat, Without a Trace and Murder, She Wrote. In 2012, Everett appeared on the TV series Castle. His film credits included The Jigsaw Murders, The Firechasers and director Gus Van Sant’s Psycho. Read more
2012: Larry Hoppen, U.S. musician who was the co-founder, lead vocalist and guitarist for the band Orleans, known for the songs “Still the One” and “Dance With Me,” dies at 61.
2011: Dan Peek, U.S. musician known best as a founding member of the band America and who co-wrote and sang lead vocal on the hit song “Lonely People,” dies of a heart condition at 60.
It might not be the most iconic America song (that honor probably goes to “A Horse With No Name”), but “Sister Golden Hair” was a No. 1 hit in 1975. Growing up in the ’70s as a blond girl with a blond sister, I couldn’t escape this song – and I didn’t want to. It’s pretty, it’s touching, and it still sounds fresh today. Read more
2007: Chaney Kley, U.S. actor known best for his recurring role as Officer Asher on the television series The Shield, dies at 34.
2000: G. Wood, U.S. actor who played General Hammond in the movie and television series M*A*S*H, dies of congestive heart failure at 80.
1996: Virginia Christine, U.S. actress who appeared in many movies and television series but was known best for playing Mrs. Olson in the Folgers coffee commercials, dies of cardiovascular disease at 76.
1991: Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel Prize-winning Polish author whose works included Yentl and Enemies, a Love Story, dies following a series of strokes at 88.
1989: Ernie Morrison, U.S. actor, comedian and dancer who was usually credited as Sunshine Sammy Morrison and was an original cast member in the Our Gang series and the East Side Kids movies, dies of cancer at 76.
1980: Peter Sellers, English actor and comedian who was well-known for playing Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies and starring in Dr. Strangelove and Being There, dies of a heart attack at 54.
The movie was intended to showcase David Niven, who played a lord who lives a secret life as an international jewel thief known as the Phantom. Inspector Clouseau was merely a supporting character, but Sellers’ rendition of the clueless detective – who thought he was perhaps the greatest detective in the world – stole the show. As director Blake Edwards later recalled, he was very unhappy when actor Peter Ustinov backed out, “but as fate would have it, I got Mr. Sellers instead of Mr. Ustinov — thank God!” Read more
1966: Tony Lema, U.S. professional golfer who won 12 PGA titles, including the British Open in 1964, dies in a charter-plane crash at 32.
1965: Constance Bennett, U.S. actress who was a movie star in the 1930s and ’40s and starred in the Topper movies, dies of a brain bleed at 60.
1862: Martin Van Buren, U.S. politician who was the eighth president of the United States from 1837 until 1841, dies of asthma and heart failure at 79.