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The Real Peter Sellers (Hardback)

Social History Biographies White Owl

By Andrew Norman
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526786838
Published: 30th November 2021

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Throughout the world, people regard Peter Sellers purely as a comedic genius: surely, one of the greatest ever to have lived. But, the astute observer will notice that he always appeared to be acting, even when being interviewed. So, who was Peter Sellers?

Sellers once said, ‘I could never be myself you see. There is no “Me”. I do not exist. There used to be me, but I had it surgically removed’. Clearly, this was not intended to be taken literally. Instead, the inference is that somehow, he had lost his sense of identity.

To discover the real Peter Sellers is no easy task, and when we do, what we encounter is a totally different persona from the comedic characters that he portrayed on the screen.

Sellers had celebrity status: a succession of beautiful wives; immense wealth; magnificent motor cars; expensive yachts; a house in Mayfair, and various palatial residences. But far from being happy, he was plagued by self-doubt; ambitious, but never satisfied. And so, he resorted to superstition, clairvoyance, and drugs to get himself through the day.

For all Sellers’ worldwide fame as ‘Inspector Clouseau’, many regard the film Being There, in which he played the character ‘Chance’, a gardener, as his masterpiece. In fact, the film was a damning indictment of the false god of materialism.

Sellers’ obsession with the character of ‘Chance’, makes it seem likely that this was the kind of person he aspired to be, and wished that he had been.

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 Andrew Norman

About Andrew Norman

Andrew Norman was born in Newbury, Berkshire, UK in 1943. He was educated in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Midsomer Norton Grammar School, Somerset, UK, and St Edmund Hall, Oxford.


Andrew worked as a general practitioner in Poole, Dorset, before a spinal injury cut short his medical career. He is now an established writer with biographies of Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Thomas Hardy, T. E. Lawrence, Adolf Hitler, Agatha Christie, Enid Blyton, Beatrix Potter, Marilyn Monroe, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to his name.

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