Arts, Culture & Media

The Life of Actor Herbert Lom

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Herbert Lom and Peter Sellars in the Pink Panther series. (Photo: Amjo Productions)

The actor Herbert Lom has died, at his home in London. He was 95.

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He was perhaps best known as Inspector Dreyfus, the long-suffering boss of Inspector Clouseau, in the original Pink Panther movies.

Film critic David Thomson says he was the perfect straight man stooge, and had a great chemistry with Peter Sellars.

Thomson notes there was far more to Lom's career than the Pink Panther series though.

"He led the Muslim infidel mob in El Cid," says Thomson, pitted against Charlton Heston.

He played in over 100 movies in all, including "Spartacus," "The Phantom of the Opera," "War and Peace," and "The Ladykillers."

Herbert Lom was born in Prague in 1917 to a minor aristocratic family.

He left Czechoslovakia before World War II, but he never lost his Czech accent, and often played stock villains.

Lom used to say there was a reason for that.

To the English, Lom said, all foreigners are sinister.