Pink Panther actor Burt Kwouk dies aged 85


Burt Kwouk, best known for playing Cato Fong in the Pink Panther films, has died peacefully at the age of 85, his agent has said.

A statement said: "Beloved actor Burt Kwouk has sadly passed peacefully away 24th May.

"The family will be having a private funeral but there will be a memorial at a later date."

Even though he is most recognisable for his big-screen role as Inspector Clouseau's manservant in the popular Pink Panther films, Kwouk was also a familiar fixture on the small screen.

He was born in Manchester in 1930 but was raised in Shanghai, China, until he was 17, when he moved to the United States, according to the British Film Institute.

He returned to Britain in 1954 and began pursuing a career in acting.

His first role was in a film called Windom's Way and he then landed what is considered his big break in Inn Of The Sixth Happiness.

Kwouk has three James Bond credits to his name - appearing in Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice and the 1967 spoof Casino Royale.

His best-known TV work includes shows like The Avengers and Danger Man. 

In 1964 he was cast as the servant Kato, the spelling of which was later changed to Cato, in the first Inspector Clouseau film, A Shot In The Dark.

The character became a hit with fans as their quirky friendship of servant and sometimes attacker developed. 

Kwouk continued in the role following the death of Clouseau actor Peter Sellers in 1980.

He starred in seven films in the Pink Panther franchise, appearing alongside Sellers, Roger Moore and Roberto Benigni in their incarnations of the inept French detective Inspector Clouseau.

A running gag throughout the films was that marital arts specialist Cato would attack Clouseau at random, often inopportune moments, to keep him on guard.

Later in his career, Kwouk would join Harry Hill's eponymous TV show and become the face of Channel 4's gaming show Banzai!

But he memorably returned to the small screen in BBC's Last Of The Summer Wine as Chinese electrician Entwistle, from 2003 until its end in 2010. 

He was honoured with an OBE for his services to drama in the 2011 New Year's Honours list.