Peter Lawford as Christopher Pepper, nightclub owner
London, Spring 1968
Film: Salt and Pepper
Release Date: June 21, 1968
Director: Richard Donner
Costume Designer: Cynthia Tingey
Tailor: Douglas Hayward
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today would have been the 100th birthday of Peter Lawford, born September 7, 1923. Though primarily an actor, the London-born Lawford may be best remembered for his affiliations with the Rat Pack and the Kennedy family, the latter by way of his 12-year marriage to Patricia Kennedy.
It was shortly after Lawford’s divorce from Pat that he was reunited with fellow Rat Pack entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr., in Salt and Pepper, one of the many spy comedies released in the late 1960s as filmmakers spoofed Bond-mania with films like Our Man Flint (1966), the satirized 007 adaptation Casino Royale (1967), and the quartet of Matt Helm movies starring Dean Martin—also of Rat Pack fame.
Salt and Pepper was the second feature directed by Richard Donner, who would later—and arguably more successfully—revisit the concept of high-stakes buddy comedies with the Lethal Weapon series. When Salt and Pepper was bafflingly greenlit for the sequel suggested by Davis’ vocals over the end credits, it wasn’t Donner but Jerry Lewis who directed the two Rat Packers in One More Time (1970).
Davis and Lawford brought their time-tested chemistry to their respective roles as Charlie Salt and Christopher Pepper, a pair of swingin’ London nightclub owners who find themselves at the center of a deadly mystery involving a revolution brewing among the top ranks of the British government. “I’m Pepper, he’s Salt,” Lawford’s character informs a bemused police inspector during the opening scene. Continue reading