Herbert Lom (Czech pronunciation: [ɦɛrbɛrt lom]; 11 September 1917 – 27 September 2012) was a Czech-born British film and television actor who moved to the United Kingdom in 1939. In a career lasting more than 60 years, he appeared in character roles, often portraying criminals or villains early in his career and professional men in later years.
Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchačevič ze Schluderpacheru
11 September 1917
|Died||27 September 2012 95) (aged|
London, England, United Kingdom
(m. 1948; div. 1961)
(m. 1962; div. 1990)
Lom was noted for his precise, elegant enunciation of English. He is best known for his roles in The Ladykillers, The Pink Panther film series, War and Peace and the television series The Human Jungle.
Life and career
Lom was born Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchačevič ze Schluderpacheru in Prague to Karl Kuchačevič ze Schluderpacheru, and Olga Gottlieb, who was of Jewish ancestry. Lom claimed that his family had been ennobled and that the family title dated from 1601.
His film debut was in the Czech film Žena pod křížem ("A Woman Under Cross", 1937) followed by the Boží mlýny ("Mills of God", 1938). His early film appearances were mainly supporting roles, with the occasional top billing. At this time he also changed his surname to Lom ("breakage" or "quarry" in Czech), because it was the shortest he found in a local telephone directory.
Due to German hostilities and the possibility of an invasion of Czechoslovakia, Lom moved to Britain in January 1939. He made numerous appearances in British films throughout the 1940s, usually in villainous roles, although he later appeared in comedies as well. He managed to escape being typecast as a European heavy by securing a diverse range of casting, including as Napoleon Bonaparte in The Young Mr Pitt (1942), and again in the King Vidor version of War and Peace (1956). He secured a seven-picture Hollywood contract after World War II, but was unable to obtain an American visa for "political reasons". In a rare starring role, Lom played twin trapeze artists in Dual Alibi (1946).
Lom starred as the King of Siam in the original London production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical, The King and I. Opening at the Drury Lane Theatre on 8 October 1953, it ran for 926 performances. Lom can be heard on the cast recording.
A few years later, he appeared opposite Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers in The Ladykillers (1955), and with Robert Mitchum, Jack Lemmon and Rita Hayworth in Fire Down Below (1957). He went on to more film success during the 1960s with a wide range of parts, starting with Spartacus (1960). Subsequent films in this period included El Cid (1961), Mysterious Island (also 1961), playing Captain Nemo, and Hammer Films' remake of The Phantom of the Opera (1962). Again in the leading role, the phantom's mask in this version was full-face. "It was wonderful to play such a part, but I was disappointed with the picture", Lom later said. "This version of the famous Gaston Leroux story dragged. The Phantom wasn't given enough to do, but at least I wasn't the villain, for a change. Michael Gough was the villain."
During this period, Lom starred in his only regular TV series, the British drama The Human Jungle (1963–64), playing a Harley Street psychiatrist for two seasons. Another low-budget horror film starring Lom was the witch-hunting film Mark of the Devil (Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält, 1970), which depicted unusually graphic torture scenes. Cinemas reportedly handed out sick bags to patrons at screenings of the film. He appeared in other horror films made in both the US and UK, including Asylum, And Now the Screaming Starts!, Murders in the Rue Morgue, and The Dead Zone.
Lom was perhaps best known for his portrayal of Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus, Inspector Clouseau's long-suffering superior in several of Blake Edwards' Pink Panther films, beginning with the second movie in the series, A Shot in the Dark (1964). He also appeared in two screen versions of the Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None. In the 1975 version, he played Dr. Armstrong, and later appeared in the 1989 version as General Romensky.
Lom wrote two historical novels, one on the playwright Christopher Marlowe (Enter a Spy: The Double Life of Christopher Marlowe, 1978) and the other on the French Revolution (Dr Guillotine: The Eccentric Exploits of an Early Scientist, 1992). The film rights to the latter have been purchased, but to date no film has been produced.
- Žena pod křížem (1937) as Gustav, Hodan's son
- Boží mlýny (1938) as Chasník
- The Young Mr Pitt (1942) as Napoleon
- Secret Mission (1942) as Medical Officer
- Tomorrow We Live (1943) as Kurtz
- The Dark Tower (1943) as Stephen Torg
- Hotel Reserve (1944) as Andre Roux
- The Seventh Veil (1945) as Dr. Larsen
- Night Boat to Dublin (1946) as Keitel
- Appointment with Crime (1946) as Gregory Lang
- Dual Alibi (1947) as Jules de Lisle / Georges de Lisle
- Snowbound (1948) as Keramikos
- Good-Time Girl (1948) as Max Vine
- The Brass Monkey (1948) as Peter Hobart
- Portrait from Life (1948) as Fritz Kottler Hendlmann
- The Lost People (1949) as Guest (uncredited)
- Golden Salamander (1950) as Rankl
- Night and the City (1950) as Kristo
- State Secret (1950) as Karl Theodor
- The Black Rose (1950) as Anthemus
- Cage of Gold (1950) as Rahman
- Hell Is Sold Out (1951) as Dominic Danges
- Two on the Tiles (1951) as Ford
- Mr. Denning Drives North (1952) as Mados
- Whispering Smith Hits London (1952) as Roger Ford
- The Ringer (1952) as Maurice Meister
- The Man Who Watched Trains Go By (1952) as Julius de Koster, Jr.
- The Net (1953) as Dr. Alex Leon
- Rough Shoot (1953) as Sandorski
- The Love Lottery (1954) as André Amico
- Star of India (1954) as Vicomte de Narbonne
- Beautiful Stranger (1954) as Emile Landosh
- The Ladykillers (1955) as Louis
- War and Peace (1956) as Napoleon
- Fire Down Below (1957) as Harbour Master
- Hell Drivers (1957) as Gino Rossi
- Action of the Tiger (1957) as Trifon
- Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958) as Police Commissar Vargas
- I Accuse! (1958) as Major du Paty de Clam
- Intent to Kill (1958) as Juan Menda
- The Roots of Heaven (1958) as Orsini
- Passport to Shame (1958) as Nick Biaggi
- No Trees in the Street (1959) as Wilkie
- The Big Fisherman (1959) as Herod Antipas
- North West Frontier (1959) (aka Flame Over India) as Peter van Leyden
- Third Man on the Mountain (1959) as Emil Saxo
- I Aim at the Stars (1960) as Anton Reger
- Spartacus (1960) as Tigranes Levantus (pirate envoy)
- Mr. Topaze (1961) as Castel Benac
- Mysterious Island (1961) as Captain Nemo
- The Frightened City (1961) as Waldo Zhernikov
- El Cid (1961) as Ben Yusuf
- The Phantom of the Opera (1962) as The Phantom
- Tiara Tahiti (1962) as Chong Sing
- Treasure of the Silver Lake (1962) as Colonel Brinkley
- The Horse Without a Head (1963, TV film) as Schiapa
- The Human Jungle (1963-1964, TV series, 26 episodes) as Dr. Roger Corder
- A Shot in the Dark (1964) as Police Commissioner Charles Dreyfus
- Uncle Tom's Cabin (1965) as Simon Legree
- Return from the Ashes (1965) as Dr. Charles Bovard
- Our Man in Marrakesh (1966) as Mr. Casimir
- Gambit (1966) as Ahmad Shahbandar
- The Karate Killers (1967) as Randolph
- Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild's Revenge (1967) as King Etzel (Attila)
- Villa Rides (1968) as General Huerta
- Eve (1968) as Diego
- Assignment to Kill (1968) as Matt Wilson
- 99 Women (1969) as Governor Santos
- Doppelgänger (1969) as Dr Kurt Hassler
- Mark of the Devil (1970) as Lord Cumberland
- Mister Jerico (1970, TV film) as Rosso
- Count Dracula (1970) as Van Helsing
- Dorian Gray (1970) as Henry Wotton
- Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971) as René Marot
- Hawaii Five-O ("Highest Castle, Deepest Grave", 1971, TV) as Mondrago
- Asylum (1972) as Dr. Byron (segment: "Mannikins of Horror")
- Dark Places (1972) as Prescott
- And Now the Screaming Starts! (1973) as Sir Henry Fengriffin
- And Then There Were None (1974) as Dr. Edward Armstrong
- The Return of the Pink Panther (1975) as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus
- The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) as Former Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus
- Charleston (1977) as Inspector Watkins
- Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus
- The Lady Vanishes (1979) as Dr. Hartz
- The Man with Bogart's Face (1980) as Mr. Zebra
- Hopscotch (1980) as Yaskov
- Peter and Paul (1981) as Barnabas
- Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus
- Curse of the Pink Panther (1983) as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus
- The Dead Zone (1983) as Dr. Sam Weizak
- Lace (1984, TV miniseries) as Monsieur Chardin
- Memed, My Hawk (1984) as Ali Safa Bey
- King Solomon's Mines (1985) as Colonel Bockner
- Scoop (TV film, 1987) as Mr. Baldwin
- Master of Dragonard Hill (1987) as Le Farge
- Going Bananas (1987) as Captain Mackintosh
- Skeleton Coast (1988) as Elia
- Whoops Apocalypse (1988) as General Mosquera
- River of Death (1989) as Colonel Ricardo Diaz
- Ten Little Indians (1989) as General Romensky
- The Devil's Daughter (1991) as Moebius Kelly
- The Pope Must Die (US: The Pope Must Diet!, 1991) as Vittorio Corelli
- Son of the Pink Panther (1993) as Police Commissioner Charles Dreyfus
- Agatha Christie's Marple, episode "Murder at the Vicarage" (2002), as Augustin Dufosse
- Staff writers (27 September 2012). "Film Obituaries: Herbert Lom". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
- Viner, Brian (18 December 2004). "Herbert Lom: The Odd Fellow". The Independent. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
- "Herec Herbert Lom a šlechta rodu Kuchačevich ze Schluderpacheru". www.abchistory.cz. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
- BBC Radio 4 Interview, 31 October 2008
- Stanley Green, Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre, (New York, 1976: Dodd, Mead & Company, rpt. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press, 1980), pg. 233.
- "Esplatter.com". Esplatter.com. Archived from the original on 16 November 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
- "Herbert Lom, Pink Panther star, dies aged 95". BBC News. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
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