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Edwards directed and often wrote a wide variety of movies including “Days of Wine and Roses,” a harrowing story of alcoholism; “The Great Race,” a comedy-adventure that starred Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood; and “Victor/Victoria,” his gender-bender musical comedy with Andrews.

Although many of Edwards‘ films were solid hits, he was nominated for Academy Awards only twice, in 1982 for writing the adapted screenplay of “Victor/Victoria” and in 1983 for co-writing “The Man Who Loved Women.” Lemmon and Remick won Oscar nominations in 1962 for “Days of Wine and Roses,” and Hepburn was nominated for “Breakfast at Tiffany‘s” in 1961.

Edwards had entered television in 1958, creating “Peter Gunn,” which established a new style of hard-edged detective series. The tone was set by Henry Mancini’s pulsating theme music. Starring Craig Stevens, the series ran until 1961 and resulted in a 1967 feature movie “Gunn.”

“Peter Gunn” marked the beginning of a fruitful collaboration between Edwards and Mancini, who composed melodic scores and songs for most of Edwards‘ films. Mancini won Oscars for the “Breakfast at Tiffany‘s” score and the song “Moon River,” the title song of “Days of Wine and Roses” and the score of “Victor/Victoria.”

William Blake McEdwards was born July 26, 1922, in Tulsa, Okla. The family moved to Hollywood three years later.

Edwards began in films as an actor, playing small roles in such movies as “A Guy Named Joe” and “Ten Gentlemen From West Point.” After 18 months in the Coast Guard in World War II, he returned to acting but soon realized he lacked the talent. With John Champion, he wrote a Western, “Panhandle,” which he produced and in which he acted for the quickie studio, Monogram. He followed with “Stampede.”

In 1947, Edwards turned to radio and created the hard-boiled “Richard Diamond, Private Detective,” which was converted to television in 1957.

Tiring of the TV grind, Edwards returned to films and directed his first feature, “Bring Your Smile Along.” After a few more B movies which he usually co-wrote, he made the big time in 1958 with “The Perfect Furlough,” starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, and “Operation Petticoat” with Cary Grant and Curtis.

“Breakfast at Tiffany‘s” in 1961 established Edwards as a stylish director who could combine comedy with bittersweet romance. His next two films proved his versatility: the suspenseful “Experiment in Terror” (1962) and “Days of Wine and Roses” (1963), the story of a couple’s alcoholism, with Lemmon in his first dramatic role.

“The Great Race,” about an auto race in the early 1900s, marked Edwards‘ first attempt at a big-budget spectacle. He spent Warner Bros.’ money lavishly, raising the ire of studio boss Jack Warner. The 1965 release proved a modest success.

Edwards‘ disdain for the studios reached a peak in the 1970 “Darling Lili,” a World War I romance starring his new wife, Andrews, and Rock Hudson. The long, expensive Paris location infuriated the Paramount bosses. The movie flopped, continuing Andrews‘ decline from her position as Hollywood’s No. 1 star.

For a decade, Edwards‘ only hits were “Pink Panther” sequels. Then came “10,” which he also produced and wrote. The sex comedy became a box-office winner, creating a new star in Bo Derek and restoring the director’s reputation.

“It was my greatest fortune, my life-changing fortune, that he believed in me,” Derek said in a statement. “He selected me for the role which shaped everything that ever happened to me. He was a loyal friend and I will miss him and that mischievous expression that would come over his face when he was about to come up with something hilarious.”

Edwards scored again in 1982 with “Victor/Victoria,” with Andrews playing a woman who poses as a (male) female impersonator. His later films became more personal, particularly the 1986 “That’s Life,” which he wrote with his psychiatrist.

After Sellers‘ death in 1980, Edwards attempted to keep the “Pink Panther” franchise alive. He wrote and directed “Curse of the Pink Panther” in 1983, starring David Niven, and “Son of the Pink Panther” in 1993, starring Roberto Benigni. Both were failed efforts.

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