THE BEST LAID PLANS OF MICE AND MEN…
PETER SELLERS’ films brought laughter and happiness to millions, but in real life, he had more than his share of heartbreak with broken marriages and failed love affairs. Bard Robert Burns’ 1786 proverb “The best-laid plans of mice and men….”
Oh yes, when it goes wrong, it flattens you like a tornado. Having been friends with Peter since the ’60s, through interviewing him about his films like THE PINK PANTHER movies, a HITLER SPOOF, visiting his home on various occasions, exchanging letters and being introduced by him to Liza Minnelli, I was as much distressed as my last feature had, apparently, upset Peter. But it was not my fault.
Woman Magazine published my latest Sellers interview six months after it had been submitted in 1974. And that exact same publication week at the end of April 1975, Peter broke up with the partner about whom he had spoken so lovingly and passionately in that interview. Peter was well known for never controlling his tantrums, whether it was family, friends or work. But I had never been at the brunt of it before.
So, after receiving his “let’s talk about caterpillars letter” (see attached), and finding a delightful caterpillar greeting card, I phoned the London Natural History Museum, obtaining info on a particular caterpillar. Hence my reply, (attached) including “Did you know that Malacosoma Neustria sunbakes on the outside of his silken tent-like web and feeds exclusively on hawthorn.” All was forgiven.
But when I next saw Peter in his home, the comic genius, yet a serious man in private, was in a very depressed mood. Trying to cheer him up, I gave the wrong impression by saying it upset me to see him like this because I cared what happened to him. Big mistake! He took it romantically and the harder I tried to get out of it, the worse it sounded. I loved Peter’s incomparable talent, his company, and vitality, his sense of humour and achievement, but he never appealed to me as a man.
So I made a rather hasty exit to get back home to my toddler. Peter at this time had already had previous heart attacks, and four years later, at the young age of 54 in 1980 this bright star of some 60 movies, Including, DR. STRANGELOVE, THE PARTY, THE MILLIONAIRESS, THERE’S A GIRL IN MY SOUP, and his last and most brilliant 1979 film, BEING THERE with Shirley MacLaine (for which he received an Academy Award Nomination) – Peter lost the battle.
For a moment the world stood still in shock and disbelief.
Peter Sellers. actors. famous people. celebrities.