|Born||Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchačevič ze Schluderpacheru
11 September 1917
|Died||27 September 2012
London, England, United Kingdom
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, usually portraying villains early in his career and professional men in later years.
Life and career
Lom was born Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchačevič ze Schluderpacheru in Prague to Karl Kuchačevič ze Schluderpacheru, and his spouse, the former Olga Gottlieb. Lom himself claimed that his family had been ennobled and the family title dated from 1601. Lom's film debut was in the 1937 Czech film Žena pod křížem ("A Woman Under Cross") followed in 1938 by the Boží mlýny ("Mills of God"). His early film appearances were mainly supporting roles, with the occasional top billing. At this time he also changed his impractically long surname - to Lom ("a quarry" in Czech), because it was the shortest he found in a local phone book.
Because of the possibility of a German takeover 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 castings, including as Napoleon Bonaparte in The Young Mr Pitt (1942), and again in the 1956 version of War and Peace. 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. (His co-star who played Anna, Valerie Hobson, later married the British politician John Profumo.) 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, which made casting an actor with a reputation for his vocal talents a sensible decision. "It was wonderful to play such a part, but I was disappointed with the picture", Lom says. "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, in the British drama, The Human Jungle (1963–64) as a Harley Street psychiatrist, over two seasons. In addition to The Phantom of the Opera, other low-budget horror films starring Lom included the witchhunting film Mark of the Devil (Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält, 1970), which depicted torture scenes graphically. Reportedly, cinemas handed out sick bags to every patron at screenings of the film. He appeared in other horror films made in both the U.S. and Britain, 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's Pink Panther films. He also appeared in two different 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 McKenzie.
Lom wrote two historical novels, one on the playwright Christopher Marlowe (Enter a Spy: The Double Life of Christopher Marlowe, 1971) and another on the French Revolution (Dr. Guillotin: 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.
He died in his sleep on 27 September 2012 at the age of 95.
- "Peter [Sellers] was always a mixed-up guy, a childish fellow. But if you're fond of children, you're also fond of childish men. He was always very helpful to me. After he was famous, and when I was still in trouble with the US embassy, he wrote a letter in support of me which was magnificent. But it is true that he was very cruel to his children. He was so hurt by the way children treat you when you're their father. I have been hurt by my children. But he was not in possession of a proper brain when it came to these things."
- The Young Mr Pitt (1942; as Napoleon Bonaparte)
- Secret Mission (1942)
- The Dark Tower (1943)
- Hotel Reserve (1944)
- The Seventh Veil (1945)
- Night Boat to Dublin (1946)
- Appointment with Crime (1946)
- Dual Alibi (1947)
- Portrait from Life (1948)
- Brass Monkey (1948)
- Golden Salamander (1950)
- Night and the City (1950)
- State Secret (1950)
- The Black Rose (1950)
- Two on the Tiles (1951)
- Hell is Sold Out (1951)
- Whispering Smith Hits London (1952)
- Mr. Denning Drives North (1952)
- The Ringer (1952)
- The Man Who Watched Trains Go By (1952)
- Rough Shoot (1953)
- The Net (1953)
- The Love Lottery (1954)
- Beautiful Stranger (1954)
- Star of India (1954)
- The Ladykillers (1955)
- The Wrong Widget (1955)
- War and Peace (1956) (as Napoleon)
- Fire Down Below (1957)
- Hell Drivers (1957)
- Action of the Tiger (1957)
- Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958)
- I Accuse! (1958)
- The Roots of Heaven (1958)
- Passport to Shame (1958)
- Intent to Kill (1958)
- The Big Fisherman (1959)
- Third Man on the Mountain (1959)
- No Trees in the Street (1959)
- North West Frontier (1959)
- Spartacus (1960)
- I Aim at the Stars (1960)
- Mr. Topaze (1961)
- The Frightened City (1961)
- El Cid (1961)
- Mysterious Island (1961)
- Der Schatz im Silbersee (1962)
- Tiara Tahiti (1962)
- The Phantom of the Opera (1962) (in the title role)
- A Shot in the Dark (1964)
- (German: Onkel Toms Hütte) Uncle Tom's Cabin (1965) as Simon Legree
- Return from the Ashes (1965)
- Our Man in Marrakesh (1966)
- Gambit (1966)
- The Karate Killers (1967) (as Randolph)
- Die Nibelungen, Teil 2 - Kriemhilds Rache (1967)
- Villa Rides (1968)
- Eve (1968)
- Assignment to Kill (1968)
- 99 Women (1969)
- Doppelgänger (1969)
- Mark of the Devil (1970)
- Dorian Gray (1970)
- Count Dracula (1970)
- Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971)
- Asylum (1972)
- Dark Places (1972)
- And Now the Screaming Starts! (1973)
- And Then There Were None (1974)
- The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)
- The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)
- Charleston (1977)
- Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)
- The Lady Vanishes (1979)
- The Man with Bogart's Face (1980)
- Hopscotch (1980)
- Peter and Paul (1981)
- Trail of the Pink Panther (1982; uses discarded footage from The Pink Panther Strikes Again)
- Curse of the Pink Panther (1983)
- The Dead Zone (1983)
- King Solomon's Mines (1985)
- Whoops Apocalypse (1986)
- Master of Dragonard Hill (1987)
- Going Bananas (1987)
- The Crystal Eye (1988)
- Scoop (1989)
- Ten Little Indians (1989)
- River of Death (1989)
- La setta (1991)
- The Pope Must Die (1991)
- Masque of the Red Death (1991)
- Son of the Pink Panther (1993)
- "Murder at the Vicarage" in Agatha Christie's Marple series (2004)
- "Nemesis" in Agatha Christie's Marple series (2009)
- Viner, Brian: Herbert Lom: The Odd Fellow, The Independent, 18 December 2004
- "Herbert Lom". The Daily Telegraph (London). 27 September 2012.
- "Flixster.com". Flixster.com. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- FilmReference Biography
- BBC Radio 4 Interview, 31 October 2008 
- Stanley Green, Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre, (New York, 1976: Dodd, Mead & Company, rpt. Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press, 1980), p. 233.
- "Esplatter.com". Esplatter.com. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- "Herbert Lom, Pink Panther star, dies aged 95". BBC News. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- Herbert Lom at the Internet Movie Database
- Herbert Lom at the TCM Movie Database
- Herbert Lom at AllMovie
- Herbert Lom at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- "Herbert Lom: The Odd Fellow"
- Photographs and Literature related to Lom