Famed Hollywood writer and director Blake Edwards died yesterday at a health care center in Santa Monica, California. Edwards passed away due to complications from pneumonia with his family close by, including his wife, Julie Andrews. He was 88 years old.
Edwards actually started out as an actor, appearing in many different films of the 1940s, but it’s his work as a writer and director for which he’s best known and will be remembered forever. Most notably, he both wrote and directed the late Peter Sellers in 1963’s The Pink Panther, which turned into a franchise with sequels in 1975, 1976, and 1978 — all involving Edwards and Sellers. Not to mention the many spin offs, adaptations, and remakes that have made the character a pop culture icon over the years.
Though the Pink Panther films are his most identifiable works, in no way did they define his career. From westerns to dramas and romances to wars, Edwards set his stories in whatever genres complimented them the best.
Of the movies he only directed, the one that stands out above the rest is Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which was based on the novel by Truman Capote and starred Audrey Hepburn. Others include Operation Petticoat with Cary Grant and Tony Curtis, and 10, which starred Dudley Moore and Bo Derek.
In addition to the Panther films, Edwards also handled the writing and directing double-duties with The Party (again with Sellers), and the Oscar winning Victor Victoria with his wife, Andrews.