Herbert Lom, the actor beloved by millions for his role as Inspector Clouseau's long-suffering boss Dreyfus in the Pink Panther films, has died. He was 95.

The family of the Czech-born, London-based actor said he passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Born Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru in Prague, Lom studied philosophy at Prague University and was involved in student theatre.

The Guardian reports that he fled Czechoslovakia for Britain with his Jewish girlfriend on the eve of the German invasion in 1939.

She was refused entry at Dover because she did not have the correct papers and subsequently died in a concentration camp; her death is reported to have haunted Lom all his life.

During the Second World War, Lom worked for the BBC European Service and developed his acting career in his new home country.

He appeared in over 100 films, including The Ladykillers, War and Peace – one of two movies in which he played Napoleon – Spartacus, El Cid, The Phantom of the Opera and The Dead Zone.

A published author, his Pink Panther movies included A Shot in the Dark, The Return of the Pink Panther, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Revenge of the Pink Panther, Trail of the Pink Panther and Curse of the Pink Panther.