Thursday, March 26, 2009

Peter Sellers


I bought a couple of CD's yesterday in a charity shop. On the Signature label - part of a 15 CD set called "Vintage British Comedy". These tracks culled from Vol.9 and Vol. 10. Other artists include Frankie Howard, Will Hay, Arthur Askey, Max Miller etc.

"Sellers was born in Southsea, Hampshire to a family of entertainers. His parents nicknamed him Peter at an early age, after his elder stillborn brother. He attended the North London Roman Catholic school, St. Aloysius College, although his father, Yorkshire-born Bill Sellers (1900 - 1962), was Protestant and his mother, Agnes Doreen 'Peg' née Marks (1892 - 1967), was Jewish. His maternal grandmother, Benvenida Welcome Mendoza (1855 - 1932), was of Portuguese-Jewish descent; her grandfather, Mordecai Mendoza (1774 - 1851), was a first cousin of English prizefighter Daniel Mendoza (1764 - 1836). Sellers was also a cousin of Talksport radio presenter Mike Mendoza.

Accompanying his family on the variety show circuit, Sellers learned stagecraft which proved valuable later. He performed at five at the burlesque Windmill Theatre in the drama Splash Me!, which featured his mother.[citation needed] He was a versatile artist, excelling at dancing, drumming well enough to tour with jazz bands (his drumming is shown in a clip of The Steve Allen Show in 1964), and playing ukulele and banjo. In Parkinson, Sellers claimed his father had taught George Formby to play ukulele. Sellers played ukulele on the "New York Girls" track for Steeleye Span's 1975 album Commoner's Crown.

During World War II, Sellers was an airman in the Royal Air Force, rising to corporal, though he had been relegated to ground staff due to poor eyesight. His tour included India and Burma, although the duration of his stay in Asia is unknown and its length may have been exaggerated by Sellers himself. He also served in Germany and France after the war.

As a distraction from the life of a non-commissioned officer, Sellers joined the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), allowing him to hone his drumming and comedy. He occasionally impersonated his superiors, and his portrayal of RAF officer Lionel Mandrake in the film Dr. Strangelove may have been modelled on them. He bluffed his way into the Officers Club using mimicry and the occasional false moustache, although as he told Michael Parkinson in the 1972 interview, occasionally older officers would suspect him. The voice of Goon Show character Major Dennis Bloodnok came from this period."

Discover more about Peter Sellers HERE.


Peter Sellers - Jakka & The Flying Saucers Pt. 1

Peter Sellers - Jakka & The Flying Saucers Pt. 2

Peter Sellers - Never Never Land

4 comments:

mel said...

I thought I knew all Peter Sellers' recordings but I've never come across these before! Thanks very much.

wastedpapiers said...

Thanks mel. I thought I had them all too until i saw these. One wonders how many others are languishing in the EMI vaults!

Gail's Man said...

When Sellers was good, he was very good, but other times he was a bit too much. Being There (his last film) was a bit underrated when it was released, but it is a great character study.

The Reviewer said...

This is a class post - love Peter Sellers - and I hope that you can find the time to read this post I wrote about him - http://www.comicbookandmoviereviews.com/2011/08/peter-sellers-quotes-and-facts.html