Stars including Robert Wagner, Steve Martin and Bo Derek have paid tribute to legendary director Blake Edwards, who passed away on Wednesday night (15Dec10).
The Pink Panther moviemaker died in California at the age of 88 after suffering complications from pneumonia, and a number of his famous friends and former colleagues have now stepped forward to pay their respects.
Wagner, who starred in two of Edwards' Pink Panther films and remained close friends with his former boss, has called the writer/director a "genius" and credited him with boosting his career.
He says, "He gave me some of the greatest opportunities of my career and there won't be anybody passing by like him again. He was a genius. Personally, we were so very close friends and he was so kind to me throughout my entire life."
Veteran screen beauty Derek, who rose to fame in Edwards' 1979 movie 10, has also praised the late star for handing her a career in Hollywood, adding, "We've lost a true genius of entertainment. It was my greatest fortune, my life-changing fortune, that he believed in me. He selected me for the role which shaped everything that ever happened to me.
"He was a loyal friend and I will miss him and that mischievous expression that would come over his face when he was about to come up with something hilarious."
Martin, who revived the role of Inspector Jacques Clouseau in the recently rebooted Pink Panther series, writes in a post on, "Blake Edwards was one of the people who made me love comedy. Sorry to hear of his passing."