Czech-born actor best known as Inspector Clouseau's crazed boss in the Pink Panther films
- "Give me ten men like Clouseau and I could destroy the world." - - - Chief Inspector Dreyfus "A Shot in the Dark" (1964)
It is a sad day when an actor who was a major figure for you in your youth passes from this troubled planet.
So here at my laptop I raise my glass of gin and tonic. To Herbert. Thanks for the wonderful memories. God Bless.
Herbert Lom, who has died aged 95, spent more than 50 years in dramatic roles, playing mostly smooth villains, but he was best known for his portrayal of Charles Dreyfus, the hysterically twitching boss of the bumbling Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) in the series of slapstick Pink Panther comedies.
Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru was born in 1917 into an impoverished aristocratic family in Prague then part of the Empire of Austria-Hungary.
He studied philosophy at Prague University, where he organised student theatre. In 1939, on the eve of the German invasion of Czechoslovakia, he arrived in Britain with his Jewish girlfriend, Didi, but she was sent back at Dover because she did not have the correct papers. Her subsequent death in a concentration camp haunted him all his life.
Inspector Clouseau visits Dreyfus at the psychiatric hospital
From the 1976 film 'The Pink Panther Strikes Again'
Because of his linguistic abilities, Lom worked for the BBC European Service during the second world war, while building an acting career in British films with his newly shortened name. He had already appeared in small parts in two Czech films. In his first British film, Carol Reed's The Young Mr Pitt (1941), he played Napoleon Bonaparte, whom he resembled.
In The Return of the Pink Panther (1975), Lom ends up in a straitjacket, writing "Kill Clouseau" on the walls of his padded cell with his toes. In The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), he escapes from the asylum and becomes a master criminal. Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) has him driven crazy again.
His last appearance was on television as a suspicious French professor in an adaptation of Agatha Christie's The Murder at the Vicarage (2004), with Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple.
The Pink Panther Strikes Again: Cato's Ambush
|Herbert Lom as Captain Nemo in The Mysterious Island (1961)|