Herbert Lom: Wikis


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Herbert Lom
Born Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich von Schluderbacheru
11 September 1917 (1917-09-11) (age 92)
Prague, Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic)
Years active 1937 - 2004
Spouse(s) Dina Schea (1948-1971) (divorced) 2 children

Herbert Lom (Czech pronunciation: [ɦɛrbɛrd lom]; born 11 September 1917) is an internationally known Czech film actor.



He was born Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru in Prague to upper-class parents.[1]Lom's film debut was in the Czech film Žena pod křížem. His early film appearances were mainly supporting roles, with the occasional top billing.

He moved to Britain in 1939 and made many 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'.[2] In a rare starring role, Lom played twin trapeze artists in Dual Alibi (1946). He continued into the 1950s with roles opposite Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers in The Ladykillers (1955), and with Robert Mitchum, Jack Lemmon and Rita Hayworth in Fire Down Below (1957). In 1952, he starred as the King of Siam in the original London production of The King and I and can be heard on the cast recording.

The 1960s was a highly successful decade for Lom, with a wide range of parts, starting with Spartacus (1960), El Cid (1961), and the role of Captain Nemo in Mysterious Island (also 1961). He received top billing again in Hammer Films' remake of The Phantom of the Opera (1962). Lom's English is noted for a precise, elegant delivery. The phantom mask in this version was full face, which made casting an actor with a reputation for such vocal talents a wise choice. "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." Lom starred in two seasons of The Human Jungle (1963-64), a British TV drama about a psychiatrist.

Hammer Films produced endless low-budget horror films. Lom recalled in one interview how producers expected actors to throw themselves into their work: "For one of my scenes, the Hammer people wanted me to smash my head against a stone pillar, because they said they couldn't afford one made of rubber," Lom reveals. "I refused to beat my head against stone, of course. This caused a 'big crisis,' because it took them half a day to make a rubber pillar that looked like stone. And of course, it cost a few pennies more. Horror indeed!"

Other low budget horror films he starred in included the notorious witchhunting film Mark of the Devil (Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält, 1970) that depicted very graphic torture scenes. The film was most famous for cinemas handing out sick bags to every patron.[3]

Lom is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus, Inspector Clouseau's long-suffering superior in 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.

Leonard Maltin wrote of him, “At one time considered a British counterpart to Charles Boyer (whom he resembled), Lom didn't get as many starring assignments as he rated, but makes a lasting impression in character parts.”


Lom has also written 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 movie rights to the latter have been purchased but no film to date has been produced.


  • "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."[4]
  • "You know, I always do my best, no matter the quality of the film. One thing I hate is when directors come to me before shooting a take and say: 'Herbert, give me your best!' And I think: 'But it's my job to give my best. I can't give anything else!' Whether it is good enough for those who sit in the cinema is quite another matter."

Selected filmography


  1. ^ flixster.com
  2. ^ BBC Radio 4 interview broadcast 31 October, 2008
  3. ^ http://www.esplatter.com/reviewshton/markofthedevil.htm
  4. ^ Brian Viner (18 December 2004). "Herbert Lom: The odd fellow". The Independent (news.independent.co.uk). http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article24759.ece.  

External links

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