R.I.P. Blake Edwards

Blake Edwards – the man behind such classic films as Breakfast at Tiffanys, The Party and the Inspector Clouseau comedies The Pink Panther and A Shot in the Dark – has died at the age of 88.

The writer-director passed away due to complications linked to pneumonia at the St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. His wife, Julie Andrews, and his children were at his bedside at the time.

Born July 26, 1922, the Oklahoma native began his career in Hollywood as an actor and screenwriter. His first break arrived in the 1938 radio production of Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds, which he worked on at the age of 16.

After spending some years writing for TV, he made his feature film debut with 1954’s The Atomic Kid. In 1961, he brought Truman Capote’s novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s to the big screen, featuring Audrey Hepburn‘s iconic performance as Holly Golightly.

In 1963’s The Pink Panther, Edwards helped create another cinematic character perhaps even more lasting than Hepburn’s Golightly – Peter Sellers’ Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Together they made six Clouseau features together: The Pink Panther, A Shot in the Dark, The Return of the Pink Panther, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Revenge of the Pink Panther and Trail of the Pink Panther (made after Sellers’ death, featuring compiled footage of outtakes and deleted scenes – it was, understandably, a critical disaster). Edwards and Sellers’ also collaborated on 1968s The Party, in which Sellers’ played an Indian actor who accidentally turns a Hollywood party upside down.

Following the critical drubbing of his last Pink Panther film, Edwards bounced back with the box office hit 10. He continued to work in cinema throughout the 80s. His final film was 1993’s Son of the Pink Panther, which starred Roberto Benigni as Clouseau’s son.

In 2004, Edwards was awarded an Honourary Academy Award.

R.I.P.

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