Then there was a problem about having children (he has three by his first two marriages, including a son the same age as Lynne). "A psychiatrist she went to actually suggested that because I loved my mother, I was still looking for a mother figure," puzzles Sellers. "He was bonkers enough to think that incestuous feeling prevented us from having children. But that's the way psychoanalysts talk." It was Lynne who wanted to live in Hollywood and Peter who catapulted her career (and possibly set back his own) starring with her in the upcoming third remake of The Prisoner of Zenda.
Before jetting off to ride out the Cannes Film Festival aboard the $4,000-a-day charter yacht Berengaria, Sellers ticked off explanations for his first three marital failures. No. 1, actress Anne Hayes: "I was reponsible. If you fall in love with Sophia Loren and chase around Europe for six months, you can't expect your wife not to get upset." No. 2, Ekland: "Well, she's a professional girlfriend, so there's no more to be said." No. 3, socialite Miranda Quarry: "She was my intellectual superior. It was difficult."
Sellers was not unmindful of age differences and the medical consequences. He suffered a coronary shortly after honeymooning with the 16-years-younger Ekland, and Frederick had to nurse him through intensive care and implantation of a pacemaker after a second attack. Sellers is not ungrateful, observing, "Lynne is the sweetest, kindest girl in the world." So what went wrong? "Hollywood," Sellers has decided, "sets out to destroy those people like Lynne and me who were happy. Hollywood hates happiness."
Had Peter Sellers gone "loopy"? "I think he has," lamented British actress Lynne Frederick, 25, when she got the bad news at their Hollywood home via transatlantic telephone. Sellers, 53, had just informed her that their two-year marriage was finite But for Sellers—who had been married three times before, to the likes of Britt Ekland, and whose perfervid loves had included Sophia Loren and Liza Minnelli—it would perhaps have been more loopy if he and Lynne had lasted. After all, Peter once billed himself as "star of stage, screen and alimony." This time, as he played out the saga in the London press, the movies' Dr. Strangelove magnanimously shouldered much of the blame. "I put everything I've got into my work," he confessed. "That means I do unexpected things and I am slightly eccentric. Sometimes I was guilty of lack of affection for Lynne. She would be dressed beautifully and expecting attention when I came home from work at night, but I wouldn't notice, because I was still in another world."