I do hope you know who Peter Sellers was. Just in case you don’t, I’ll take a moment to bring you up to speed. He was an actor who was perhaps most famous for the hilariously funny role of Chief Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther film series. For those a wee bit older, you might remember all the numerous roles he played in Dr. Strangelove, but then there was also Being There (which earned him an Oscar nomination). My personal favorite of his is the truly funny “The Mouse that Roared“, a cold war satire from 1959 about a tiny little country (3 miles by 5 miles big) that goes to war against the US and wins. Seriously now, if you have no idea who he is, go stream these movies. They might be old, but you will love them, he was a true comic genius.
Anyway, putting that aside, today I’m thinking about what finally happened to him. Tragically he had a heart attack and died in 1980 at the young age of 54. So why am I blogging about this, isn’t that simply one of those things that happens and there is not much you can do about it? Sadly no, it is not as simple as that, his death was totally pointless and very very preventable. This is not the point at which I insert some glib rant about eating healthy, or taking plenty of exercise, because that was not the problem here; let me explain.
In 1964, at the age of 38, Peter Sellers suffered a series of heart attacks that caused serious damage to his heart. Now this next part is the root cause of his problems, pay attention. Instead of seeking proper medical care, he decided to consult psychic healers, and so proceeded to visit these quacks about twice a year.
Yep, you’ve got it, he truly believed in this stuff and was sure it was a better solution than conventional medicine – thinking like this is what killed him. Over the next 16 years his condition rapidly got worse, and then in 1977 he suffered his second major attack. Even then there was still hope. This event resulted in a pacemaker being fitted, but that was never going to be enough; his doctors pleaded for him to have further surgery that would have greatly extended his life, but he refused. A couple of years later in 1980 he had a further final heart attack.
Sad as all this is, we can still applaud his unique sense of humor. In his will he requested that the Glenn Miller song “In the Mood” be played at his funeral. This is considered to be his last touch of humour. Apparently he hated it and thought that it would be funny to force all those turning up for his funeral to listen to it.
You can read more about Sellers on his Wikipedia page here.
Modern Medicine, the Stuff that works, really is your best option
When faced with claims about various forms of woo such as psychic healers and other similar claims, you might be tempted to think that it is just a bit of fun and harmless. However, that is not wholly factual. Such beliefs often lead to tragedies like this. People really do buy into it and believe to such a degree that they end up avoiding proper medical care. When faced with such nonsense, be skeptical. Your best bet for a longer life is to trust real medicine, the stuff that has been tested and proven to actually work, it just might save your life.