Blake Edwards, American film Director, Died at 88

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Dead, Blake Edwards on December 15, 2010, at the age of 88, he was an American film director, screenwriter and producer.

Born William Blake Crump in Tulsa, Oklahoma on July 26, 1922, he was the son of Donald and Lillian Crump.

His father reportedly left the family before he was born.

His mother married again, to Jack McEdwards, who became his stepfather.

He became a film production manager after moving his family to Los Angeles in 1925.

Blake’s step-grandfather was J. Gordon Edwards, a director of silent movies.

Edwards’ career began in the 1940s as an actor, but he soon turned to writing screenplays and radio scripts before turning to producing and directing in film and television.

His best-known films include Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Days of Wine and Roses, 10 and the hugely successful Pink Panther film series with British comedian Peter Sellers.

Often thought of as primarily a director of comedies, he also directed dramas and detective films.

Having grown up in Hollywood, the step-son of a studio production manager and step-grandson of a silent-film director, Edwards had watched the films of the great silent-era comedians, including Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Laurel and Hardy.

Both he and Sellers appreciated and understood the comedy styles in silent-films and tried to recreate it in their work together.

After dozens of forgettable assignments, Edwards decided that he was not destined to be an actor, and began to work behind the scenes.

He started writing movies in the late 1940s, co-scripting and acting in the low-budget westerns Panhandle and Stampede.

He wrote radio dramas in the 1950s, including Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.

Considered the last drama of radio’s golden age, Johnny Dollar starred Edmond O’Brien (and later John Lund) in weekly adventures about an investigator looking into insurance fraud.

That show was starchy and serious, but actor Dick Powell was impressed, and asked Edwards to write for his new radio drama, Richard Diamond, Private Eye, where Edwards’ trademark snappy scripted sense of humor began blooming.

In 1979, after making three Panther sequels in four years, Edwards wrote and directed the hit 10, which made Dudley Moore famous and Bo Derek briefly a star. S.O.B., starring Andrews, was the first of a series of Edwards’ films that seemed semi-autobiographical, dealing with aging and the loss of creativity and virility — and a shocked audience got to see Mary Poppins’ breasts.

Andrews also starred as the woman playing a female impersonator in 1982’s Victor/Victoria, which was arguably Edwards’ last great film.

Edwards’ second marriage from 1969 until his death was to Julie Andrews.

Andrews had a daughter from her previous marriage, and the couple adopted two orphans from Vietnam in the early 1970s, Amelia Leigh and Joanna Lynne.

Andrews appeared in a number of his films, including Darling Lili, 10, Victor Victoria and the autobiographical satire S.O.B., in which Andrews played a character who was a caricature of herself.

 

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