Comedy Director Blake Edwards Dies At 88
Blake Edwards, the legendary Hollywood comedy director behind the original Pink Panther films, 10, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Victor/Victoria, died today at the age of 88. With a career spanning five decades and including an honorary Oscar awarded in 2003, Edwards helped define comedy for a generation of Americans, and in his collaborations with Peter Sellers on the Pink Panther films established a comedic icon in the character of Inspector Clouseau.
There's a lovely obit for Edwards in Variety, detailing the oft contentious relationship between him and Sellers, his series of collaborations with wife Julie Andrews (including the hit Victor/Victoria, which snagged his only competitive Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1983), and his big break that came when another director dropped off Breakfast at Tiffany's and he took the job. At Deadline they're remembering a public appearance Edwards made in September of this year at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, a conversation about his long career hosted by the Academy. Edwards recounted the studio's attempt to cut Henry Mancini's iconic song "Moon River" for Breakfast at Tiffany's, a song star Audrey Hepburn fought to keep in the film and that eventually won an Oscar.
According to Variety, Andrews and her two children were at Edwards' bedside when he passed away. Whether you're a huge Pink Panther fan or want to stick up for the misunderstood S.O.B. and Skin Deep, share your favorite Blake Edwards moments in the comments.
Update From Eric: Just thought I would get my two cents in here. When I was a kid, probably like many of you, I didn't really have discernible taste when it came to comedy. If a movie had something even close to resembling a joke I probably laughed at it. My parents, however, smart people that they are, knew that this couldn't continue. I was not allowed to be an adult who found Dennis The Menace and Problem Child to be the pinnacle of comedy. Their solution was to go to the video store and rent a copy of A Shot in the Dark. I honestly wish I could pinpoint the exact date, because that was the day that I learned what real comedy is.
Both I and film history owe an incredible deal to Blake Edwards. People like Edwards, Peter Sellers and the Marx Brothers spent decades teaching us the value of a laugh and how much greater it feels when it's actually earned. When I eventually have a family and see my children enjoying whatever moronic trash exists that day, I will do exactly what my parents did: I will sit them down and teach them what real comedy is with a little help from Blake Edwards. Rest in peace.
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