101 Funniest Screenplays

A jewel heist plot – involving an heiress and a precious diamond, nicknamed “the pink panther” – anchored the first installment of a franchise that became synonymous with the careers of director Blake Edwards and the wonderfully bumbling antics of Peter Sellers as the French Inspector Clouseau. Sellers was an 11th-hour replacement for the actor who was supposed to play Clouseau, Peter Ustinov. “I didn’t know much about Sellers,” Edwards told the Los Angeles Times in 1993 of the re-casting days before production was to start. “He was this pudgy Englishman speaking cockney. When someone suggested him, I thought, `He doesn't remind me of the character.’ But we were desperate, so I said, 'Get him in, let's do it.’” Edwards shared co-screenplay credit on the original Pink Panther with Maurice Richlin, who with his own writing partner, Stanley Shapiro, had won an Oscar for the 1959 romantic comedy Pillow Talk.