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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

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

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

Kwouk was born on 18 July 1930 in Warrington, 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. 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. He left China in 1947 when his parents returned to Britain, and was sent to the United States to complete his education. In 1953, he graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. 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".


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. 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.

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) 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. 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." 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. 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. Burt also had a cameo in Super Gran in 1985.

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. He provided voice-overs on the spoof Japanese betting show Banzai (2001–04) and subsequently appeared in adverts for the betting company, Bet365. 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, and television commercials.

Personal life

Kwouk married Caroline Tebbs in Wandsworth, London, in the summer of 1961. Their son Christopher was born in 1974. Kwouk was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to drama. 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.

Selected filmography


  • Windom's Way (1957) as Father Amyam's aide (uncredited)
  • The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) as Li
  • Yesterday's Enemy (1959) as Japanese Soldier
  • Upstairs and Downstairs (1959) as Chinese Restaurant Proprietor (uncredited)
  • Expresso Bongo (1959) as Soho youth (uncredited)
  • Passport to China (1960) as Jimmy
  • The Terror of the Tongs (1961) as Mr. Ming
  • The Sinister Man (1961) as Capt. Feng
  • Satan Never Sleeps (1962) as Ah Wang
  • The War Lover (1962) as Chung – Radio Operator on B-17 (uncredited)
  • The Cool Mikado (1963) as Art Teacher / Man on Aeroplane (uncredited)
  • 55 Days at Peking (1963) as Old Man (voice)
  • A Shot in the Dark (1964) as Kato – Clouseau's man-servant
  • Goldfinger (1964) as Mr Ling
  • Curse of the Fly (1965) as Tai
  • Our Man in Marrakesh (1966) as Export manager
  • Lost Command (1966) as Officer
  • The Sandwich Man (1966) as Ice Cream Man
  • The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966) as Feng
  • Casino Royale (1967) as Chinese general (uncredited)
  • You Only Live Twice (1967) as Spectre 3
  • Nobody Runs Forever (1968) as Pham Chimh
  • The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968) as Chairman Peng
  • The Chairman (1969) as Chang Shou
  • Deep End (1970) as Hot Dog salesman
  • Madame Sin (1972) as Scarred Operator
  • The Return of the Pink Panther (1975) as Cato Fong
  • Rollerball (1975) as Japanese doctor
  • Girls Come First (1975) as Sashimi
  • The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) as Cato
  • The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977) as Father Shapiro
  • The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It (1977) as Chinese Delegate
  • Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) as Cato Fong
  • The London Connection (1979) as Man at Meeting (uncredited)
  • The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980) as Fu Manchu's Servant
  • Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) as Cato Fong
  • Curse of the Pink Panther (1983) as Cato Fong
  • Plenty (1985) as Mr. Aung
  • Empire of the Sun (1987) as Mr Chen
  • Race for Glory (1989) as Yoshiro Tanaka
  • I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990) as Fu King owner
  • Air America (1990) as General Lu Soong
  • Police Story 3: Super Cop (1992) as General (voice, uncredited)
  • Leon the Pig Farmer (1992) as Art collector
  • Carry On Columbus (1992) as Wang
  • Shooting Elizabeth (1992) as Father Chu
  • Son of the Pink Panther (1993) as Cato Fong
  • She Good Fighter (1995) as Liang
  • Peggy Su! (1997) as Dad
  • China Dream (1998) as Min Ju
  • Kiss of the Dragon (2001) as Uncle Tai
  • The Wonderland Experience (2002) as Yo Yo
  • Beyond Borders (2003) as Colonel Gao
  • Gate to Heaven (2003) as Muki
  • Stratosphere Girl (2004) as Papa-San
  • Les fils du vent (2004) as Wong
  • Fat Slags (2004) as Dalai Lama
  • Wake of Death (2004) as Tommy Li


  • Hancock's Half Hour: "How to Win Money and Influence People" (1957) as 1st Japanese (credited as Burd Kwok)
  • Danger Man (1961) as Chen Tung / Tai
  • Man of the World (1962) as Liu
  • The Sentimental Agent (1963) as Chin
  • The Avengers (1961-1965) as Tusamo / Mason / King Tenuphon
  • The Saint (1965-1968) as Mr. Ching / Col. Wing / Tawau
  • The Champions: "The Beginning" (1967) as Chinese Major
  • Shirley's World: "A Hell of an Engineer" (1972) as Shunji
  • Lucky Feller (1976) as Chinese waiter
  • Warship (1977) as Foreign Minister Zee Khay Lim
  • The Water Margin: (1976–1978) as Narrator (English dub)
  • It Ain't Half Hot Mum (1977–1978) as Me Thant
  • The Tomorrow People: "The Lost Gods" (1978) as Matsu Tan
  • Monkey Magic (1978–1979) as Narrator (English dub)
  • Shoestring (1980) as Mr Wing
  • Minder (1980) as Sojo
  • Tenko (1981) as Major Yamauchi
  • Doctor Who: "Four to Doomsday" (1982) as Lin Futu
  • Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense: "Mark of the Devil" (1984) as Lee
  • Tickle on the Tum (1984) as Willie Wok
  • Howards' Way (1987) as Mr Lee
  • T-Bag Bounces Back (1987) as Hi Hatt
  • Noble House (1988) as Phillip Chen
  • The House of Eliott (1991) as Peter Lo Ching
  • Lovejoy (1992, "Eric of Arabia") as Banker
  • Lovejoy (1993, "The Peking Gun") as Mr Ying
  • Space Precinct (1994, "Protect and Survive") as Slik Ostrasky
  • Bullet to Beijing (1996) as Kim Soo
  • The Harry Hill Show (1997–2000)
  • Queen of Swords: "The Dragon" (2001) as Master Kiyomassa
  • Banzai (2001) as Narrator
  • Last of the Summer Wine (2002–2010) as Entwistle
  • Judge John Deed (2005, "Separation of Powers") as Professor Vang Pao
  • Silent Witness (2006, "Cargo") as Jimmy Han
  • Honest (2008) as Mr Hong
  • Spirit Warriors (2009) as Shen
  • Whatever Happened to Harry Hill (2012)

Audio theatre

  • Doctor Who: Loups-Garoux (2001) as Doctor Hayashi

Video games

  • Fire Warrior (2003) as El'Lusha
  • EyeToy: Play (2003) as Announcer


  • Film trailer – Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974) as Asian Voiceover Announcer
  • A 17-minute interview with Burt Kwouk from 2010 about his appearances in ITC shows is featured on the Network DVD The Sentimental Agent.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Burt Kwouk para niños

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