Life & Times of Peter Sellers
Master impressionist Peter Sellers was born Richard Henry Sellers on September 8, 1925 in Southsea, Hampshire, England. His parents, Agnes (Peg) and Bill Sellers, called him Peter in memory of his stillborn older brother. Sellers' parents were vaudeville entertainers, and at two days old, Sellers was carried onto the stage at King's Theatre. He spent his childhood traveling the vaudeville circuit, where he gained a fondness for entertaining and a desire to succeed beyond the realm of vaudeville.
As a youth, Sellers attended Miss Whitney's School of Dancing in Southsea and Madame Vacani's Dancing Classes in London before enrolling in St Aloysius' Boarding and Day School for Boys. In the early 1940s, Sellers played the drums with touring jazz bands and also learned to play the banjo and ukulele. Just after his 18th birthday, Sellers was drafted into the British Royal Air Force. He became an official RAF concert entertainer, and between 1943 and 1946, Sellers spent his free time performing comedy sketches and playing the drums for the other servicemen.
After returning home from the war, Sellers pursued a position with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). By 1948 he had taken part in a few moderately successful auditions, none of which had resulted in an invitation to join the BBC. Having grown impatient for stardom, Sellers chose to take matters into his own hands. The comic made a telephone call to Roy Speer, producer of the BBC radio program, "Show Time." Sellers posed as a popular radio star and recommended himself to Speer. The producer, impressed with Sellers' "acting," gave him a spot on the air. Following his initial appearances on "Show Time," Sellers became a sought-after radio personality.
On the long-running BBC radio show, "Crazy People" (later called "The Goon Show"),