Brit acting legend HERBERT LOM who starred in the PINK PANTHER flicks and epics like EL CID has shuffled off this mortal coil at 95.
Born Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru in Prague in 1917 to aristocratic parents, Lom grew up in Prague.
He landed in England just prior to World War II where he studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
He played opposite Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers in classic Ealing comedy "The Ladykillers" (1955), and opposite Robert Mitchum, Jack Lemmon and Rita Hayworth in "Fire Down Below" .
Noted for his fine cultured voice and distinctive feature Lom lit up the cinema as a master of menace in “Northwest Frontier" (Flame over India) with Lauren Bacall and Kenneth More, as Captain Nemo in the Ray Harryhausen production “Mysterious Island”, a sympathetic pirate in “Spartacus” with Kirk Douglas and Muslim would-be world beater Ben Yusuf in “El Cid” starring Charlton Heston in the titular role.
In 1962 he played “The Phantom of the Opera” in the Hammer Films production, becoming the third actor to do so on the big screen.
Lom's exotic features and manic eyes made him ideally suited for horror movies and saw him play doctors, vampire hunters, witchfinders, murderers and all manner of obsessive characters, The BBC reported.
It was Lom's depiction of men over the edge that persuaded director Blake Edwards to give him his most famous role, as Inspector Clouseau's boss Chief Inspector Dreyfus in the Pink Panther movies.
Although he wasn't seen in the 1963 original Panther, he appeared in all the subsequent Pink Panther movies until “Son of the Pink Panther” in 1993.
"It was a godsend when I was offered the part", Lom said. "But it did become a double-edged sword as people started to associate me with Dreyfus and I lost a number of dramatic parts as a result of it."
In 1983, Lom worked with director David Cronenberg in “The Dead Zone” with Christopher Walken .
In addition to his long career thesping, Lom also wrote penned two novels “Enter A Spy” and “Dr. Guillotine”.
Lom once grumbled at directors who asked him to give it his best.
"It's my job to give my best," he said. "I can't give anything else."