LONDON (AP) — Herbert
Lom, the Czech-born actor best known as Inspector Clouseau's
long-suffering boss in the "Pink Panther" movies, died Thursday, his son
said. He was 95.
Alec Lom said his father died peacefully in his sleep.
Lom had a handsomely lugubrious look that was suited to comedy, horror
and everything in between. It served him well over a six-decade career
in which roles ranged from Napoleon Bonaparte — whom he played twice —
to the Phantom of the Opera.
The London-based star appeared in
more than 100 films, including "Spartacus" and "El Cid," and acted
alongside film greats including Charlton Heston and Kirk Douglas.
Lom was most famous for playing Charles Dreyfus, boss to Peter Sellers'
befuddled Clouseau in the popular "Pink Panther" series, from "A Shot
in the Dark" in 1964 to "Son of the Pink Panther" in 1993.
a delight to him later in his career to be cast by Pink Panther
producer and director Blake Edwards in a comedy role opposite Peter
Sellers, and he hugely enjoyed that move," Alec Lom said. "He had many
funny stories about the antics that he and Peter Sellers got up to on
the set. It was a nightmare working with Peter because he was a terrible
giggler and, between my father and Peter's laughter, they ruined dozens
and dozens of takes."
Born Herbert Karel Angelo Kuchacevic ze
Schluderpacheru in Prague in 1917, Lom came to Britain at the start of
World War II and began his career as a radio announcer with the BBC's
His first major movie role was as Napoleon in
1942's "The Young Mr. Pitt." The career that followed saw him cast often
as a villain.
In "The Ladykillers," one of the best-loved British
films of the 1950s, Lom played a member of a ruthless crime gang
fatally outsmarted by a mild-mannered old lady.
included the title character in Hammer Studios' "The Phantom of the
Opera" in 1962, and Van Helsing in 1970's "Count Dracula," opposite
A postwar American career was stymied when Lom
was denied a visa, though he later appeared on U.S. TV series including
"The Streets Of San Francisco" and "Hawaii Five-O."
In the 1950s,
Lom also had success on the London stage playing the King of Siam in the
original London production of the "The King And I" at the Theatre Royal
Drury Lane, opposite Valerie Hobson.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
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