Author Topic: Herbert Lom dead  (Read 2045 times)

Offline thaiga

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Herbert Lom dead
« on: September 27, 2012, 09:57:06 PM »
Herbert Lom dead: Pink Panther films police chief dies aged 95

The veteran actor's most famous role was as fed-up and irritable Charles Dreyfus, the boss of Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau

Veteran actor Herbert Lom, fondly remembered for his roles in the Pink Panther films during his half-century of movie appearances, has died at the age of 95.

The Czech-born, London-based star appeared in more than 100 films including classics such as Spartacus, El Cid and The Ladykillers.

He died peacefully in his sleep this morning, his family said.

During his career, Lom portrayed Napoleon Bonaparte on two occasions, one of which was the screen adaptation of Tolstoy's War And Peace.

But his most famous role was as fed-up and irritable Charles Dreyfus, the boss of Peter Sellers' bumbling character Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther films.

He first appeared as the police chief in 1964's A Shot In The Dark and, as the films went on, became increasingly mentally unstable as a result of Clouseau's incompetence.

Herbert Lom as Chief Inspector Dreyfus - Part 1/2- Scenes from Pink Panther Movies

During his career he appeared with such stars such as Kirk Douglas, Sir Alec Guinness and Charlton Heston.

Prague-born Lom moved to the UK before the Second World War and worked as a newscaster with the BBC's overseas service until his acting career took off.

The twice-married actor's first major screen role was as Napoleon in 1942 film The Young Mr Pitt, although his swarthy good looks led to him regularly being cast as a suave villain.

His son, Alec Lom, said: "Like many actors, he never wanted to be pigeon-holed in a particular role and, after having played the role of East European gangster in many films, it was 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.

"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.

In the early 1950s, Lom had huge stage success as the King of Siam in the original London production of musical hit The King And I at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, opposite Valerie Hobson. The part had been made famous by Yul Brynner on Broadway, who also starred in the film version.

Other movie work included the title role in The Phantom Of The Opera in 1962, and Lom also featured in horror hits such as The Murders In The Rue Morgue and as Van Helsing in the 1970 chiller Count Dracula, which starred Christopher Lee as the famed vampire.

Lom - whose real name was Herbert Karel Angelo Kuchacevic ze Schluderpacheru - also made a number of TV appearances, which included playing a psychiatrist in the British TV drama The Human Jungle.

In addition, he had guest roles in popular US series such as The Streets Of San Francisco and Hawaii Five-O.

Earlier in his career he had been denied entry to the States and was unable to take up a seven-film Hollywood contract. Despite having taken British citizenship in the mid-1940s, he was denied a visa to enter the US in the following decade because he was suspected of being a Communist sympathiser.

He later recalled: "Everybody had Communist leanings. But I was not a lover of Communist regimes. And I admired America greatly, yet for many years I was not allowed in."

The visa problem was also in danger of scuppering his lead in The King And I as he was unable to take up the invitation to audition in New York. However, the writers, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, agreed to head over the border to Canada for the casting.

"They sent me a ticket, and I met them in a hotel in Toronto. A piano was pushed into the room, I sang the first verse of A Puzzlement and Oscar said 'Stop, welcome aboard'."

Lom had three children. In addition to Alec, he had another son, Nick, and a daughter, Josephine, named after the French Empress and wife of Napoleon.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.