'Pink Panther' Cato actor Burt Kwouk dies aged 85

His servant, and sometimes attacker, character became a hit with fans

Burt Kwouk, Pink Panther, Cato, Inspector Clouseau, Peter Sellers

File photo of Burt Kwouk, best known for playing Inspector Clouseau's manservant Cato in the Pink Panther films | Image: Michael Crabtree / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Burt Kwouk, best known for playing Inspector Clouseau's manservant Cato Fong in the 'Pink Panther' films, has died aged 85.

A statement said: "Beloved actor Burt Kwouk has sadly passed peacefully away 24th May".

"The family will be having a private funeral but there will be a memorial at a later date".

Kwouk was born in Warrington, Cheshire, but lived in Shanghai until he was 17.

He started acting after attending college in the United States and in 1964 he was cast as the servant Kato, the spelling of which was later changed to Cato, in the first Inspector Clouseau film, 'A Shot In The Dark'.

The character became a hit with fans as their quirky friendship of servant, and sometimes attacker, developed.

A running gag throughout the films was that martial arts specialist Cato would attack Clouseau at random, often inopportune moments, to keep him alert.

Kwouk continued in the role following the death of Clouseau actor Peter Sellers in 1980.

He also appeared in three James Bond films including playing Mr Ling, a Chinese expert in nuclear fission, in 'Goldfinger'.

Kwouk's best-known TV work includes shows like 'The Avengers' and 'Danger Man'.

Later in his career, Kwouk would join Harry Hill's eponymous TV show and become the face of Channel 4's gaming show 'Banzai!'.