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Being There (United Artists 1979, Peter Sellers, Shirley Maclaine)



Adapted from Kosinski’s novel, Being There is the story of a mentally deficient gardener, who knows the outside world only through television, and his rise to political power when his idle aphorisms are interpreted as philosophical wisdom by a wealthy industrialist and, soon after, swallowed whole by the American public. Influential and provocative with a marvelously enigmatic performance by Sellers.

Jerzy Kosinski, the Polish emigre writer who adapted Being There from his own book, became internationally renowned for his Holocaust novel The Painted Bird (1965).

Academy Award Nominations: 2, including Best Actor: Peter Sellers.

production details
USA | Paramount | 130 minutes | 1979

Director: Hal Ashby
Script: Jerzy Kosinski, Robert C. Jones,

Peter Sellers as Chance
Shirley MacLaine as Eve Rand
Jack Warden as President ‘Bobby’
Melvyn Douglas as Benjamin Rand
Richard Dysart as Dr. Robert Allenby
Richard Basehart as Vladimir Skrapinov
Ruth Attaway as Louise
David Clennon as Thomas Franklin
Fran Brill as Sally Hayes
Denise DuBarry as Johanna Franklin
Alice Hirson as First Lady
Jerome Hellman as Gary Burns
John Harkins as Sidney Courtney
James Noble as Kaufman