"Blake Edwards, the veteran writer-director whose films include the Pink Panther comedies, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Days of Wine and Roses and 10 and whose legendary disputes with studio chiefs inspired his scathing Hollywood satire S.O.B. has died. He was 88." Dennis McLellan for the Los Angeles Times: "Edwards, whose collaborations with his wife, Julie Andrews, included the 1982 comedy Victor/Victoria, died of of complications of pneumonia Wednesday evening."
His "reputation as a film director seems locked by some in the realm of lowbrow slapstick comedy and, in many cases, not particularly good ones, but Edwards's work as a director and a writer was more multifaceted than that," argues Edward Copeland. "True, at his heart he was a clown. A few years ago when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences finally saw fit to bestow an honorary Oscar upon Edwards, he used his acceptance speech as an occasion for a gag, abetted by presenter Jim Carrey, showing up in a wheelchair with a broken leg and making it appear as if it went out of control and crashed through the wall of part of the awards show set." Still, his "resume was far more eclectic than you'd think and he did produce some classics."
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 [Jack] Lemmon in his first dramatic role."
Updates, 12/17: "In effect, he gave the physical comedy of the silent era and the character-based humor of Hollywood forebears like Preston Sturges and Billy Wilder a modern neurotic spin," writes the Boston Globe's Ty Burr.
Julie Andrews with Director Blake Edwards filming "The Tamarind Seed" - 1974
Roger Ebert: "His life was filled with laughter, its end, shadowed by illness. He remained productive as long as he could. As Inspector Clouseau once observed, in words written by Edwards, 'There is a time to laugh and a time not to laugh, and this is not one of them.'"
"The Great Race" Director Blake Edwards 1964 Warner Brothers
"As Orson Welles said, when I once asked him what he thought was the difference between cutting up a scene or playing it through in one shot, “Well, we used to say that was what separated the men from the boys.” Blake Edwards was definitely among the men—-a really terrific guy—- and with him goes one of the final examples of real, classic filmmaking". Source: blogs.indiewire.com