Burt Kwouk

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Burt Kwouk
Born Herbert W. Kwouk
(1930-07-18) 18 July 1930 (age 85)
Warrington, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom
Years active 1957 – present

Herbert W. "Burt" Kwouk, OBE (Chinese: 郭弼; born 18 July 1930) is an English actor of Chinese ancestry, known for his role as Cato (spelled "Kato" in the 1964 release: A Shot in the Dark) in the Pink Panther films, as well as for his many television appearances including his portrayal of Major Yamauchi in the British drama series Tenko and, later, as Entwistle in Last of the Summer Wine.

Early life[edit]

Kwouk was born in Warrington, Cheshire (confirmed by Kwouk on Whodunnit Series 3 appearance)[1] but was brought up in Shanghai until he was 17 years old, when his Chinese parents returned to England.[2] He went to the United States to study and in 1953 graduated from Bowdoin College.[3] The Kwouk family fortune had been lost in the 1949 revolution and in 1954 he came back to Britain, where a girlfriend "nagged me into acting".[2]


One of Kwouk's 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.

He has appeared in numerous films and television programmes. He may be most famous for playing Cato Fong, Inspector Clouseau's manservant. 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.

He was a stalwart of several ITC television TV series, such as Danger Man, The Saint, Man of the World etc., when an oriental character was required. He co-starred in 12/13 episodes of The Sentimental Agent (1963).

Kwouk has appeared in three James Bond films. In Goldfinger (1964) he played Mr. Ling, a Red Chinese expert in nuclear fission; in the 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.[4]

In 1968 he appeared in The Shoes of the Fisherman opposite Laurence Olivier and Anthony Quinn. Kwouk also appeared as the honourable but misguided Major Yamauchi in the 1980s World War II television drama Tenko.

A reference to his appearances in several films with Peter Sellers is found in the opening scene of The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu where Sellers says to him "your face is familiar."

Kwouk featured in many UK 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.

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. The episode was filmed at Texas Hollywood, Almeria, Spain.

From 2001 to 2004 he provided voice-overs on the spoof Japanese betting show Banzai and subsequently appeared in adverts for the betting company, Bet365.[5]

From 2002 to the show's end in 2010, he had a regular role in the long-running series Last of the Summer Wine, as Entwistle. His later work also includes voice acting in the audio theatre and video game genres.

In 2010, he provided the voice of the CGI character Shen, a Chinese water dragon, for the groundbreaking BBC TV fantasy drama series Spirit Warriors.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Kwouk married Caroline Tebbs in Wandsworth, Surrey in summer 1961.[7] Their son Christopher was born in 1974.[8]

Burt Kwouk was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to drama.[9][10]

Selected filmography[edit]



Audio theatre[edit]

Video games[edit]



  1. ^ England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005: Registration district: Manchester South; Inferred County: Lancashire; Volume Number: 8d; Page Number: 40
  2. ^ a b "Not Now, Cato! OBE for Pink Panther Star Kwouk". Press Association Regional Newswire - North West. 2011-01-01. 
  3. ^ http://www.bowdoin.edu/news/archives/1bowdoincampus/008683.shtml
  4. ^ Burt Kwouk at IMDB
  5. ^ Tang, Irwin (24 July 2003). "Fox's 'Banzai' Premieres to Protests". New America Media. Retrieved 8 November 2009. 
  6. ^ Spirit Warriors (TV series)
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005; Registration district: St Pancras; Volume Number: 14; Page Number: 2309
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59647. p. 11. 31 December 2010.
  10. ^ "New Year Honours unveiled". BBC News. 31 December 2010. 
  11. ^ http://www.networkdvd.net/product_info.php?cPath=28&products_id=1139

External links[edit]