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'Pink Panther' star Herbert Lom dies aged 95

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An Oct. 28, 1955 photo from files showing British actor Herbert Lom at London Airport prior to his departure to Rome, to continue filming 'War and Peace'. The Czech-born actor who starred as Inspector Clouseau's boss in the Pink Panther movies, has died. -AP Photo

LONDON: Veteran Czech-born actor Herbert Lom, known best for his roles in the “Pink Panther” films, died on Thursday aged 95, his family said.

Lom, who appeared in more than 100 films, often played villains and was most famous for his role as the irritable police chief Charles Dreyfus in the Pink Panther movies, starring opposite Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau.

In a career spanning six decades, Lom also played in classics including “Spartacus”, “El Cid” and “The Ladykillers”.

Relatives said the London-based actor, who was born in Prague in 1917, died peacefully in his sleep.

“Like many actors, he never wanted to be pigeon-holed in a particular role,” his son Alec Lom said.

“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.”

Lom moved to Britain before World War II and worked as a newscaster for the BBC's overseas service before his acting career took off.

He was hugely successful as the King of Siam in the original London stage production of the musical “The King and I” in the 1950s, and also played the title role in the film version of “The Phantom of the Opera” in 1962.

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