“Thou Shalt Not Give Up.” Blake Edwards
Sometimes you get a glimpse of a creative career that just radiates drive and persistence along with a hefty dose of craftsmanship. This really hit me when I did a bit of research on Blake Edwards, the director/writer/producer/actor whose work spanned everything from the dark drama, Days of Wine and Roses to the zany Pink Panther series. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Our boy Blake was about as versatile and prolific as they come. And talk about resilient! He reinvented himself constantly. After starting out as an actor, he decided he lacked talent and moved into writing. He penned low-budget films in the 1940s, then moved on to radio dramas in the 1950s, when he also began directing films. In the 1960s he created, wrote, and directed a popular TV detective series and also directed two breakthrough films: Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Days of Wine and Roses. Later he went on to develop the wildly successful Pink Panther series with Peter Sellers. One of these films, made for $2.5 million, ended up grossing $100 million.
One tribute describing Blake’s colorful career pointed out that “Few directors have worked so long with such checkered results commercially and critically, and yet have revived their fortunes with bursts of astonishing creative energy.”
Blake put it a bit differently: “For someone who wants to practice his art in this business, all you can hope to do, as S.O.B. says, is stick to your guns, make the compromises you must, and hope that somewhere along the way you acquire a few good friends who understand. And keep half a conscience.”
Here’s a bit more advice from a real pro: “We decided that the one thing about Clouseau that could make him succeed was that he embodied what I considered to be the eleventh commandment, which is ‘Thou Shalt Not Give up.’ He never figured he could lose, never figured he could fail.” Bravo, Blake!