Burt Kwouk

Burt Kwouk

Kwouk in The Last of the Summer Wine
Born Herbert Tsangtse Kwouk[1]

(1930-07-18)18 July 1930
Warrington, Lancashire, England
Died 24 May 2016(2016-05-24) (aged 85)
Hampstead, London, England
Years active 1957–2012
Spouse(s) Caroline Tebbs
(m. 1961; his death 2016)
Children 1
Burt Kwouk
Chinese 郭弼

Herbert Tsangtse "Burt" Kwouk, OBE (pronounced KWOK; Chinese: 郭弼; 18 July 1930 – 24 May 2016) was a British actor, known for his role as Cato in the Pink Panther films. He made appearances in many television programmes, including a portrayal of Imperial Japanese Army Major Yamauchi in the British drama series Tenko and as Entwistle in Last of the Summer Wine.

Early life

Kwouk was born in Warrington,[1][2] but was brought up in Shanghai. Between the ages of 12 and 16 he attended the Jesuit Mission School there, which he described as "the Far East equivalent of Eton".[1] He left China in 1947 when his Chinese parents returned to Britain and was then sent to the United States to complete his education.[3] In 1953 he graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.[4] The Kwouk family fortune had been lost in the 1949 revolution and in 1954 he came back to Britain, where a girlfriend "nagged [him] into acting".[3]


Kwouk made his film debut in the 1957 film Windom's Way. One of his earliest film roles was in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) where he played the leader of a prison revolt who later aids the main character in heroically leading orphans to safety.[5] He subsequently appeared in numerous films and television programmes. He was best known for playing Cato (originally spelled "Kato") Fong, Inspector Clouseau's manservant, in the Pink Panther film series. The character was first introduced in A Shot in the Dark (1964), the second film in the series, and was a role that Kwouk would reprise on another six occasions until the 2006 series reboot. The running gag was that Cato was ordered to attack Clouseau when he least expected it to keep him alert, usually resulting in Clouseau's flat being wrecked. Amid the chaos, the phone would ring and Cato would calmly answer it with "Inspector/Chief Inspector Clouseau's residence", before dutifully handing the phone to his employer and being thumped by Clouseau.[6]

He was a stalwart of several 1960s ITC television series, such as Danger Man, The Saint and Man of the World, when an oriental character was required. Kwouk featured as one of the leads in the short-lived series The Sentimental Agent (1963)[7] and had minor roles in three James Bond films. In Goldfinger (1964) he played Mr. Ling, a Chinese expert in nuclear fission; in the non-Eon spoof Casino Royale (1967) he played a general and in You Only Live Twice (1967) Kwouk played the part of a Japanese operative of Blofeld credited as Spectre 3.[8] In 1968, he appeared with Laurence Olivier and Anthony Quinn in The Shoes of the Fisherman.

A reference to Kwouk's appearances in several films with Peter Sellers is found in the opening scene of The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980) where Sellers says to him "your face is familiar."[9] His next major role was as the honourable but misguided Major Yamauchi in the World War II television drama Tenko (1981–84). Kwouk featured in many British television productions that called for a man of oriental appearance. As a result, he became a familiar face in the United Kingdom and appeared as himself in the Harry Hill Show as well as several of Hill's live tours.[10]

In 2000, he appeared in an episode of the syndicated western TV series Queen of Swords as Master Kiyomasa, an aged Japanese warrior-priest. Sung-Hi Lee played his female pupil, Kami.[11] He provided voice-overs on the spoof Japanese betting show Banzai (2001–04) and subsequently appeared in adverts for the betting company, Bet365.[12] From 2002 to the series's end in 2010, he had a regular role as one of the three main characters in the long-running series Last of the Summer Wine, as 'Electrical' Entwistle. His later work also included voice acting for audio theatre, video games,[13] and television commercials.[14]

Personal life

Kwouk married Caroline Tebbs in Wandsworth, London, in the summer of 1961.[15] Their son Christopher was born in 1974.[16] In the 2011 New Year Honours List, Burt Kwouk was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to drama.[17][18] In later years he lived in Hampstead, London. He died on 24 May 2016, aged 85, at the Marie Curie Hospice in Hampstead, of cancer.[19] He was survived by his wife, his son Christopher, and four grandchildren.[6]

Selected filmography



Audio theatre

Video games



  1. 1 2 3 "Burt Kwouk, actor – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 25 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  2. England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916–2005: Registration district: Manchester South; Inferred County: Lancashire; Volume Number: 8d; Page Number: 40
  3. 1 2 "Not Now, Cato! OBE for Pink Panther Star Kwouk". Press Association Regional Newswire – North West. 1 January 2011.
  4. "Actor Burt Kwouk '53 Receives Honor from English Crown". Bowdoin College. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 "Kwouk, Burt". British Film Institute. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  6. 1 2 Child, Ben (24 May 2016). "Burt Kwouk, Cato from Pink Panther, dies age 85". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Burt Kwouk, Cato in the Pink Panther films – a life in pictures". The Guardian. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  8. Burt Kwouk at IMDB
  9. Lewis, Roger (16 February 1995). The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. Arrow. p. 797. ISBN 978-0099747000.
  10. "Burt Kwouk dies aged 85". BBC News. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  11. 1 2 Terrace, Vincent (14 October 2002). Crime Fighting Heroes of Television: Over 10,000 Facts from 151 Shows, 1949–2001. McFarland & Co. p. 62. ISBN 978-0786413959.
  12. Tang, Irwin (24 July 2003). "Fox's 'Banzai' Premieres to Protests". New America Media. Retrieved 8 November 2009.
  13. "Spirit Warriors". BBC. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  14. Ronald Bergan. "Burt Kwouk obituary". the Guardian.
  15. England & Wales Marriage Index, 1916–2005; Date of Registration: Jul–Aug–Sep 1961; Registration district: Wandsworth; Inferred County: Surrey; Volume Number: 5d; Page Number: 1975
  16. England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916–2005; Registration district: St Pancras; Volume 14; Page 2309
  17. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59647. p. 11. 31 December 2010.
  18. "New Year Honours unveiled". BBC News. 31 December 2010.
  19. Howard Reid, John. Film Noir, Detective and Mystery Movies on DVD: A Guide to the Best in Suspense. p. 210.
  20. "Satan Never Sleeps". British Film Institute. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  21. "Curse of the Fly". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  22. "Our Man in Marrakesh". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  23. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 "Burt Kwouk". British Film Institute. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  24. 1 2 3 4 Bergan, Ronald (24 May 2016). "Burt Kwouk obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  25. McKie, Andrew (24 May 2016). "Obituary – Burt Kwouk, actor known as Inspector Clouseau's violent butler Cato". The Herald. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  26. "Shoestring". BBC. 21 December 1980. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  27. "Minder – S2-E7 A Nice Little Wine". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  28. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0637190/
  29. "Episode 01: Protect and Survive". SpacePrecinct.com. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  30. "Judge John Deed – S4-E5 Separation of Powers". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  31. "Pink Panther star Burt Kwouk dies aged 85". RTE. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  32. "20. Loups-Garoux". Big Finish Productions. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  33. Fox, Matt (30 January 2013). The Video Games Guide: 1,000+ Arcade, Console and Computer Games, 1962–2012. McFarland. p. 101. ISBN 978-0786472574. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  34. "Network ON AIR > Sentimental Agent (The) – The Complete Series". Network Distributing. Retrieved 24 May 2016.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/3/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.