Blake Edwards passed away in Santa Monica Thursday morning — with wife Julie Andrews and his children at his bedside — the New York Times reports. The legendary writer-director behind such classic comedies as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Pink Panther series and Victor/Victoria was 88 years old. His publicist told The New York Times that his death was caused by complications of pneumonia.
Edwards was born in Tulsa, Okla., but his family moved to L.A. shortly after his birth. He graduated from Beverly Hills High and served in the Coast Guard during World War II.
Back in Hollywood after the war, he worked briefly as an actor before co-writing his first screenplay (a Western called Panhandle) in 1946 — moving on to write scripts and eventuall direct for radio, TV and more films.
The 1960s were his heyday, with Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) and Days of Wine and Roses (1962) garnering critical acclaim — and the Pink Panther comedies starring Peter Sellers nabbing box office success.
After his first marriage to Patricia Walker ended in 1967, he met and fell in love with Andrews, now 75, when he directed her in Darling Lili. They married in 1969.
Accepting an honorary Oscar in 2004, Edwards gushed about his “beautiful English broad with the incomparable soprano and the promiscuous language.”
Edwards is survived by five children: Jennnifer and Geoffrey, from his previous marriage; Emma, from Andrews’s first marriage; Amelia Leigh and Joanna Lynne, whom he and Andrews adopted in Vietnam in the 1970s.