Blake Edwards, a filmmaker who loved art


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Blake Edwards, who died Wednesday at age 88, was a gifted comedic director who helmed such popular hits as ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ ‘10’ and the ‘Pink Panther’ films. Infirmity and illness prevented him from making movies in the final years of his life, but as he told The Times last year, he stayed creative by channeling his energy into making paintings and sculpture.

Edwards was an amateur artist for more than 40 years and occassionally exhibited his work. In 2009, he presented his paintings and sculptures in a retrospective show, ‘The Art of Blake Edwards,’ at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.


‘I didn’t want to do it,” Edwards said of the exhibition. “My artwork is my own private vice — I don’t have to worry about competing with anyone or worrying what the critics would say. Even by giving this interview, I feel like I’ve sold out to the devil.’

In 1983, Edwards was directing the movie ‘The Man Who Loved Women,’ a remake of the French film by François Truffaut of the same title. The American version starred Burt Reynolds as a sculptor who spends more time chasing women than practicing his craft. Edwards wanted original sculptures to appear in the movie and was ultimately convinced by colleagues to use some of his own. (A version of ‘Man of the World,’ pictured, was used in the movie.)

Edwards’ paintings mostly fall into the abstract category, but he also created many landscapes and still-life works. A recurring motif in his sculptures is a sitting duck — a pun-ish reference to his day job as a director of comedies.

The PDC retrospective also included jewelry that he made for his wife, Julie Andrews. The actress, who worked frequently with her husband, explained that the idea for the jewelry arose from a casual remark.

‘I was traveling, and I told him that I wished I could take something that was his,” Andrews recalls. “And that was the beginning of that.’ According to the catalog for the PDC retrospective, Edwards maintained a stash of 150 paintings that he created over the years, dating from the early ‘70s.

Read the full Times obituary on Edwards.

— David Ng

Photo (top): Blake Edwards in 2009 at his art retrospective at the Pacific Design Center. Credit: Alex Berliner / Berliner Studio/BEImages.

Photo (bottom): Edwards’ ‘Man of the World.’ Credit: Alex Berliner / Berliner Studio / BEImages.