Blake Edwards, a director, writer, and producer of comedies both literate (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 10) and gleefully anarchic (the Pink Panther movies), died Wednesday in Santa Monica, CA from complications of pneumonia. He was 88.
Born in Tulsa, OK, Edwards broke into the entertainment business as an actor and scriptwriter – one of his earliest writing credits was on Orson Welles’s legendary War of the Worlds broadcast. He created the TV series Peter Gunn (now best known for its iconic theme song), and scored a huge commercial and critical success with the Oscar-winning Breakfast at Tiffany’s, based on Truman Capote’s novella and starring Audrey Hepburn in her best-known role. Two years later, he directed the first of his Pink Panther movies starring Peter Sellers as the bumbling, self-confident Inspector Jacques Clouseau, a franchise that is probably Edwards’s best-known work. Edwards also directed the romantic comedy 10, starring Dudley Moore and Bo Derek, and Victor Victoria, starring his wife Julie Andrews as a struggling singer who finds fame as a male female impersonator; a 1995 TV adaptation of the film was Edwards’s last directorial credit.
Edwards was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in 2004. Besides Andrews, his wife of 41 years, he is survived by five children.
Click here for Edwards’s complete filmography.