Pink Panther director Blake Edwards dies

BLAKE Edwards, the director and writer known for clever dialogue, and belly-laugh gags in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 10, and the Pink Panther farces, has died aged 88.

Edwards died from complications of pneumonia at St John’s Health Centre in Santa Monica, said publicist Gene Schwam.

Blake’s wife, Julie Andrews, and other family members were at his side.

He had been hospitalised for about two weeks.

Edwards had knee problems, had undergone unsuccessful procedures and was “pretty much confined to a wheelchair for the last year-and-a-half or two,” Schwam said.

That may have contributed to his condition, he added.

At the time of his death, Edwards was working on two Broadway musicals, one based on the Pink Panther movies. The other, Big Rosemary, was to be an original comedy set during Prohibition, Schwam said.

“His heart was as big as his talent. He was an Academy Award winner in all respects,” said Schwam, who knew him for 40 years. A third-generation filmmaker, Edwards was praised for evoking classic performances from Jack Lemmon, Audrey Hepburn, Peter Sellers, Dudley Moore, Lee Remick and Andrews, his wife of nearly half a century.

He directed and often wrote a wide variety of movies including Days of Wine and Roses and Victor/Victoria.

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