An interesting question in celebrity dynamics: Peter Sellers was undeniably a movie-star, a monumental talent. . . but was...


P.S. I LOVE YOU: An Intimate Portrait of Peter Sellers

An interesting question in celebrity dynamics: Peter Sellers was undeniably a movie-star, a monumental talent. . . but was he the sort of star who has legions of US fans eager to read a drab book about his hugely depressing, somewhat sordid private life? If so, there'll be a sizable audience for this droopy memoir by Sellers' son Michael (with assists from sister and half-sister), which will soon be followed by Alexander Walker's ""authorized"" bio--anthorized, that is, by Sellers' last wife Lynne, whom the Sellers kids all abhor. (In Sellers' native England, the warring books have managed to stir up some PR-ruckus.) Starting with Sellers' deathbed vigil, Michael flashes back for a tiny rÉsumÉ of Peter's early rise to radio fame, with digs at possessive Grandma Peg, who ""devised all sorts of schemes to wreck"" Sellers' first marriage--to Michael and Sarah's mum. In any case, it was soon wrecked: ""Dad"" was superstitious, moody, vain, often violent, threatening the nanny with a knife, going into destructive jealous fits--and then he fell hard for Sophia Loren (how much she responded is blurry). . . while mum, dumped, found love with another. Divorce, then--with the kids living mostly with mum, alternately neglected and fought over by Dad, who wanted mum back but soon married Britt Ekland (Victoria's mother, a whole-family favorite). More violence, more crude emotional blackmailing of the kids--especially when divorce #2 made Peter and Britt archenemies. And so on, with Dad occasionally crying on Michael's shoulder (about the doomed affair with Liza Minelli, for instance) but usually lost in his own world of young women, drugs, compulsive dieting, chronic poor health, Eastern gums. Unsurprising, then, that Michael sounds blandly bitter through most of this--about poor ""psychotic"" dad, a ""millionaire with nothing"" who kept disowning his kids, and especially about wife #4 Lynne. . . who, after a breakup, patched things up just in time to appear at the deathbed and inherit everything. Ugly, sad, poorly written, factually iffy--but some of the father/son misery is convincing, and gossip-hungry Sellers fans (however many there may be) might not mind that there's hardly anything here about the movies themselves.

Pub Date: March 1, 1982


Page Count: -

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1982