Herbert Lom, best known as put-upon police chief Charles Dreyfus in the Pink Panther franchise, has died. The Czech-born actor was 95.
The domiciled Londoner cut his teeth playing villains, with turns in classics like Jules Dassin's Night And The City and as The Ladykillers' homicidal European, Louis Harvey, alongside Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers. He then shifted gears with turns in historical epics Spartacus (1960) and El Cid (1961).
Lom, who joined the European diaspora when the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939, was cast twice as a different kind of European dictator. He played Napoleon in 1942's The Young Mr. Pitt and again in the 1956 adaptation of War And Peace.
The best-known and most beloved role of his 60-year acting career, though, came later in a franchise that reunited him with Sellers to often hilarious effect. Tormented chief Dreyfus debuted in 1964's A Shot In The Dark, with Lom's depiction of a frustrated man gradually bidding au revoir to his marbles a regular highlight of the Pink Panther films.
Lom died peacefully in his sleep in London.