Thursday, December 16, 2010

R.I.P Blake Edwards

1922 – 2010

Blake Edwards has died in southern California at the age of 88. Edwards died of complications from pneumonia on Wednesday at St John's Health Centre in Santa Monica, his publicist said.

His wife, the actress Julie Andrews, and other members of his family were at his side, Gene Schwam added.

Among the films Edwards directed were The Pink Panther, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Victor/Victoria and 10. He never won an Academy Award for any of his films, but was given an honorary Oscar in 2004 for his "extraordinary body of work".

One of Hollywood's most successful specialists in comedy, Edwards was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1922 and started out as an actor. After appearing in about 30 films, he worked as a TV scriptwriter before becoming a director.

His first significant success came with the 1959 film Operation Petticoat, starring Cary Grant and Tony Curtis. He then charmed audiences with his adaptation of Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's, which gave Audrey Hepburn one of her most memorable roles.

In 1963, Edwards created one of film comedy's classic characters in The Pink Panther. After Peter Ustinov dropped out, Edwards persuaded Peter Sellers to play the accident-prone Inspector Clouseau.

His last major success came in 1982 with Victor/Victoria, a musical comedy that saw Julie Andrews play a woman who pretends to be a man masquerading as a woman.