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Herbert Lom, left, as police chief Charles Dreyfus and Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau in the 1976 film The Pink Panther Strikes Again. (Getty Images)

Actor Herbert Lom, Exasperated 'Pink Panther' Police Chief, Dies

Sep 27, 2012

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He was in more than 100 films, including such classics as Spartacus and El Cid.

But actor Herbert Lom, who died in London today at the age of 95, is best known as the perpetually peeved, increasingly insane police chief Charles Dreyfus in the Pink Panther films.

Driven mad by the comic incompetence of Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers), Dreyfus grew increasingly unstable (and increasingly funny, many would say) in the seven Pink Panther movies in which Lom played the part (starting with 1964's A Shot in the Dark).

The actor appreciated the role, but said it also had a downside.

"It was a godsend when I was offered the part," he once said, according to the BBC. "But it did become a double-edged sword as people started to associate me with Dreyfus."

IMDB.com reports that Lom — his name at birth was Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich Schluderpacheru — was born in Prague and made his film debut in 1937, in a Czech production called Zena prod krizem.

Sellers died in 1980, at the age of 54.

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