Burt Kwouk

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Burt Kwouk

Burt Kwouk in The Last of the Summer Wine.png
Kwouk in Last of the Summer Wine
Herbert Tsangtse Kwouk[1]

(1930-07-18)18 July 1930
Died24 May 2016(2016-05-24) (aged 85)
London, England
Years active1957–2012
Caroline Tebbs
(m. 1961)
Burt Kwouk

Herbert Tsangtse Kwouk, OBE (/kwɒk/; 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[edit]

Kwouk was born on 18 July 1930 in Warrington,[1][2] Lancashire, to Chinese parents; his parents were on a business trip touring Europe. He was brought up in Shanghai; his father was a textile tycoon descended from a Tang dynasty general.[1][3] Between the ages of 12 and 16, he attended the Shanghai Jesuit Mission School, which he described as "the Far East equivalent" of Eton College.[1] He left China in 1947 when his parents returned to Britain, and was sent to the United States to complete his education.[4] In 1953, he graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.[5] The Kwouk family fortune was lost in the Chinese communist revolution in the 1940s. In 1954, he returned to Britain, where a girlfriend "nagged [him] into acting".[4]


Kwouk made his film debut in Windom's Way (1957). One of his earliest film roles was in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) in the role of the leader of a prison revolt who later aids the main character Gladys Aylward (Ingrid Bergman) in heroically leading orphans to safety.[6] He was best known for playing Cato 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 a ruined romantic encounter or Clouseau's flat being completely destroyed. Amid the chaos, the phone would ring and Cato would calmly answer it before dutifully handing the phone to his employer and being thumped by Clouseau.[7]

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)[8] 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 (also 1967), Kwouk played the part of a Japanese operative of Blofeld, credited as Spectre3.[citation needed] 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 an oriental actor.[10] 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.[11] Burt also had a cameo in Super Gran in 1985.[citation needed]

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.[12] He provided voice-overs on the spoof Japanese betting show Banzai (2001–04) and subsequently appeared in adverts for the betting company, Bet365.[13] 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 radio drama, video games,[14] and television commercials.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Kwouk married Caroline Tebbs in Wandsworth, London, in the summer of 1961.[16] Their son Christopher was born in 1974.[17] Kwouk was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to drama.[18][19] In later years, he lived in Hampstead, London.


Kwouk died on 24 May 2016 at the age of 85, from cancer at the Marie Curie Hospice in Hampstead.[20][7]

Selected filmography[edit]



Audio theatre[edit]

Video games[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d "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: Cheshire; Volume Number: 8d; Page Number: 40
  3. ^ "Obituary: Burt Kwouk". BBC News. 24 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Not Now, Cato! OBE for Pink Panther Star Kwouk". Press Association Regional Newswire – North West. 1 January 2011.
  5. ^ "Actor Burt Kwouk '53 Receives Honor from English Crown". Bowdoin College. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa "Kwouk, Burt". British Film Institute. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  7. ^ a b Child, Ben (24 May 2016). "Burt Kwouk, Cato from Pink Panther, dies age 85". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Burt Kwouk, Cato in the Pink Panther films – a life in pictures". The Guardian. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  9. ^ Lewis, Roger (16 February 1995). The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. Arrow. p. 797. ISBN 978-0099747000.
  10. ^ "Obituary: Burt Kwouk". BBC News. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 27 December 2020.
  11. ^ "Burt Kwouk dies aged 85". BBC News. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  12. ^ a b 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.
  13. ^ Tang, Irwin (24 July 2003). "Fox's 'Banzai' Premieres to Protests". New America Media. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2009.
  14. ^ "Spirit Warriors". BBC. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  15. ^ Ronald Bergan (24 May 2016). "Burt Kwouk obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916–2005; Registration district: St Pancras; Volume 14; Page 2309
  18. ^ "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 11.
  19. ^ "New Year Honours unveiled". BBC News. 31 December 2010.
  20. ^ "Close friend pays tribute to Pink Panther actor Burt Kwouk". 24 May 2016.
  21. ^ Howard Reid, John (2009). Film Noir, Detective and Mystery Movies on DVD: A Guide to the Best in Suspense. p. 210. ISBN 9781435730106.
  22. ^ "Satan Never Sleeps". British Film Institute. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  23. ^ "Curse of the Fly". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Our Man in Marrakesh". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Burt Kwouk". British Film Institute. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  26. ^ a b c d Bergan, Ronald (24 May 2016). "Burt Kwouk obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  27. ^ McKie, Andrew (24 May 2016). "Obituary – Burt Kwouk, actor known as Inspector Clouseau's violent butler Cato". The Herald. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  28. ^ "Shoestring". BBC. 21 December 1980. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  29. ^ "Minder – S2-E7 A Nice Little Wine". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  30. ^ ""Lovejoy" Eric of Arabia (TV Episode 1992) - IMDb". IMDb.
  31. ^ "Episode 01: Protect and Survive". SpacePrecinct.com. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  32. ^ "Judge John Deed – S4-E5 Separation of Powers". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  33. ^ "Pink Panther star Burt Kwouk dies aged 85". RTE. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  34. ^ "20. Loups-Garoux". Big Finish Productions. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  35. ^ 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.
  36. ^ "Network ON AIR > Sentimental Agent (The) – The Complete Series". Network. Archived from the original on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.

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