Stanley Kubrick and Peter Sellers first worked together on Lolita. According to Wikipedia, Columbia Pictures demanded that Sellers play four roles in Dr. Stangelove: the title character, Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, President Merkin Muffley and Major T. J. “King” Kong, the B-52 pilot eventually played by Slim Pickens.
Sellers died from a heart attack at age 54. His last movie was the classic Being There, which looked and sounded like a Stanley Kubrick movie, although it wasn’t. Kubrick died at the age of 70 after he made Eyes Wide Shut, not one of his best but still worth watching, as all his films were.
Sellers was great and died too young. But off hand I can’t think of any artist whose death was as much of a loss as Kubrick’s, even though he’d already had a long career.
These are two of my favorite scenes. The first is Group Captain Mandrake with Keenan Wynn as the wary Colonel Bat Guano (“if that really is your name”). The second features President Muffley on the phone while Peter Bull as the Russian ambassador and George C. Scott as General Buck Turgidson make faces.
(Now, back to writing “A Guide To Reality, Part 10”.)