Michael Sellers (actor)
|Born||Michael Peter Anthony Sellers
2 April 1954
|Died||24 July 2006
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Occupation||Actor, author, builder|
Michael Peter Anthony Sellers (2 April 1954 – 24 July 2006) was a British builder, car restorer, author and the son of actor Peter Sellers. He also had small parts in a couple of his father's films. He was often interviewed by the media about his relation with his father. Despite a tenuous and troubled relationship with his father he frequently defended him and his legacy.
Michael Sellers was Peter Sellers' son from his first marriage to actress Anne Howe. Growing up was difficult for Michael as he frequently witnessed his parents quarrelling and he described his father's temper as mercurial and irrational. His close friend at prep school (Hall School, Hampstead) was actor Donald Sinden's son Marc Sinden. When Michael was seven his parents divorced and in an interview Marc Sinden said that Peter Sellers always behaved badly towards Michael. He also recalled seeing some of the letters Michael received from his father and concluded that he was a "really, really nasty man". His mother remarried and his stepfather was a welcome change for Michael. During the school year he stayed with his mother and stepfather, while he spent the school holidays with Peter Sellers. He was whisked along with his sister to international as well as exotic locations depending on the particular purpose his father Peter had in mind. Peter Sellers would visit Rome, for example, because he had developed a romantic interest in Sophia Loren.
Other locations included Monte Carlo, New York, and Hollywood. At home they would vacation in Windsor Great Park with Princess Margaret. But Peter Sellers was insecure about his relationship with his son and became vindictive at times going as far as telling his son that he disowned him. On another occasion he suggested that Michael change his surname. Despite all of this, Michael remained close to his father up until his death. They had spent some quality time together just before Peter's death.
When Peter Sellers married Miranda Quarry he brought Michael to Venice only to leave him there after he and his bride decided to travel somewhere else. The unpredictable father would sometimes ask the children's opinion about his future life partners.
When Michael’s first marriage ended in failure, he became closer with his father as the two started discussing Michael's life problems. This did not last long as Peter Sellers died a few months later. In his will Peter Sellers left Michael about £800 from his multi-million pound estate. Michael Sellers also claimed that the £800 he received was a calculated act to prevent him from contesting the will, since under English law only complete disinheritance provided the legal grounds for a challenge of the will.
Michael Sellers' film career started early when at age seven he played the role of Gaston in the film Mr. Topaze, directed by his father. As an adult he became a builder and property dealer. He was also a car salesman, musician and writer.
He went on to star in I Told You I Was Ill: The Life and Legacy of Spike Milligan (2005), a film he did in collaboration with the children of Spike Milligan. He also wrote three biographical books about his father.
Despite his turbulent relationship with his father, he often defended his father's legacy. Upon the release of the 2004 film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, based on the book of the same name by Roger Lewis, Sellers railed against Lewis and Stephen Hopkins, the film's director. Sellers was incensed at the portrayal of his father as clinically insane. Sellers, at the time, called Roger Lewis' book "400 pages of rubbish". Hopkins responded to Seller's comments when he appeared at the film festival to promote the film, stating that the film was not disrespectful to Peter Sellers.
In 2000 he produced his last book, Sellers On Sellers, where he wrote:
He had been there: starred in the movies, married the young women, driven the fast cars, taken the drugs, drunk the wine, made all the cash, spent the cash and let down all those people who had ever really cared for him.
- Mr. Topaze (1961) (aka I Like Money (USA)) as Gaston.
- I Told You I Was Ill: The Life and Legacy of Spike Milligan (2005) (aka The Life and Legacy of Spike Milligan), as Himself.
- This Morning (1 episode, 29 September 2004), as Himself.
- Somebody's Daughter, Somebody's Son (Episode #1.2 (2004) TV) as Himself.
- Kelly (1 episode, 20 October 2000) as Himself.
- P.S. I Love You (1981)
- A Hard Act to Follow (with Gary Morecambe; 1996)
- Sellers on Sellers (with Gary Morecambe; 2000)
- The Independent UK Michael Sellers Obituary 7 August 2006
- The Telegraph UK Detailed obituary on Michael Sellers, 05/08/2006 quote: In Michael Sellers's view the will had been carefully drafted to forestall legal challenge: " Had we been cut off with nothing, we could have challenged the will on the basis that he had forgotten to include us," he said.
- Scotland on Sunday Michael Sellers on his father, Peter BY AIDEN SMITH The Scotsman Sat 21 Dec 2002
- The Guardian UK Biopic's many strange faces of Peter Sellers incense the actor's son Fiachra Gibbons in Cannes Monday 19 May 2003 The Guardian
- Deadly legacy of a Goon by GLENYS ROBERTS, Daily Mail UK Obituary 25 July 2006 Retrieved 19 September 2011
- "Ham & High 25 July 2006
- Sarah Sellers (sister)
- IMDB on Michael Sellers