Carol Reed, Sean Connery, Michael Caine - there are a cluster of actors and filmmakers who shaped British cult cinema of the 1960s. Peter Sellers, with his signature black-framed glasses and slim cut suits, stands out as one of the most iconic and a true emblem of British style.
The original Pink Panther, Sellers wore Aquascutum trench coats and Savile Row suits. Most notable were his spectacles, the majority of which were made by Oliver Goldsmith, who was responsible for much of the cult eyewear of the 60s and 70s. He carried Gucci bags and watches, and in 2010 Gucci honoured Sellers in their ‘Timeless’ Watch campaign, using a 1970s photograph of him with third wife, model Miranda Quarry.
In 1973 Sellers photographed Liza Minnelli (his one time fiancé) for the September cover of Vogue. He himself would feature repeatedly throughout the decade, such as in the 1976 ‘Men in Vogue’ issue.
“If you asked me to play myself, I will not know what to do… I feel ghostly unreal until I become somebody else on the screen.”
As is often the case, behind the camera lay a troubled private life. An insecure and often violent character, Sellers often stated that his own identity did not exist outside the roles that he played: “If you asked me to play myself, I will not know what to do… I feel ghostly unreal until I become somebody else on the screen.”
It is indeed hard to match the austere Sellers to his onscreen comedian. However, regardless of opinion, he is undoubtedly one of the great British character actors, fundamental to the cinematic youth quake.
Text by Mhairi Graham