PETER SELLERS: The Mask Behind the Mask by Peter Evans

PETER SELLERS: The Mask Behind the Mask

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A genius!"" is the general critical consensus given by the few friends and many enemies of the British comedy impresario. But another put it this way. ""He is not a genius, Sellers, he is a freak."" And so it seems in this weird portrait of a personality so diffuse, so contradictory that it reads like a case study of multiple schizophrenia. In fact, Mr. Evans implies that it is a classic example of Oedipal smothering.. . . Jewish mother Peg who was ""embarrassingly possessive"" and totally indulgent. She plotted the career of Sellers who made his stage debut when he was two weeks old, grew up in dowdy theatrical back alleys and learned to detest the smell of stage and dressing room. After dabbling around as a detective (Dashiell Hammett's influence) and as a drummer. Sellers came to assert himself only through impersonation a mimic who literally lost himself in the part and in later years brought the parts home, a fact that was to break up one marriage. There certainly is a desperate destructiveness in the Mask Behind the Mask according to the evidence cited here, culminating in those two massive coronaries. His relationships, friends, enemies, and roles are dissected here with a Freudian earnestness and the fact that Sellers emerges as both a sinister and a sympathetic character is a credit to his biographer. Perhaps the non-man himself would approve.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1968
Publisher: Prentice-Hall