Burt Kwouk OBE

A profile of the actor Burt Kwouk

Herbert (Burt) Kwouk was born of Chinese descent in Manchester, England on July 18 1930. Burt Kwouk was brought-up in Shanghai and remained there until the age of about 17 years. To many people, Burt is Cato, Inspector Clouseau's 'man-servant' in the Pink Panther series of films. 

One of Burt's earliest television appearances is as Chang in the ABC Weekend Television series McCreary Moves in, also known as Saturday Serial: McCreary Moves in. The following year in 1958, Burt  appeared in the film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness.

The 1960s saw Burt Kwouk starring in three James Bond films. In 1964 he plays an Eastern counterpart of Bond in Goldfinger. In Casino Royale, the 1967 spoof Bond film, he plays a general. In the 1967 Bond film You Only Live Twice, Burt is a Japanese operative for Blofeld.

In 1968 Burt stars opposite Sir Laurence Olivier and Anthony Quinn in The Shoes of the Fisherman. Also in the 1960s burt stars in many of the series' and serials of that decade, these include: Dangerman, The Saint, The Avengers, The Sentimental Agent, The Champions and many more.

Burt Kwouk's prolific career continues into the 1970s with Warship (1977), The Water Margin (as narrator) and It Ain't Half Hot Mum. The 1980s sees Burt on television in shows such as Shoestring, Minder, Tenko and Dr Who.

The 1990s and into the 21st century, Burt is still working as hard as ever! The House of Elliot (1991), Lovejoy (1993), The Harry Hill Show (1997-2000), Last of the Summer Wine (2002-2010) and Spirit Warriors from 2009.

In addition to hist vast body of work in television, Burt has had a successful parallel career in some of the major films of the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year Honours 2011, for his services to drama. See Burt with his medal here.


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