BURT Kwouk, best known for playing Cato Fong in the Pink Panther films, has died aged 85.

As well as seven Pink Panther films, the Warrington-born actor also appeared in three Bond films and BBC comedy Last of the Summer Wine.

His agent said he died 'peacefully' on Tuesday.

He is most recognisable for his big-screen role as Inspector Clouseau's manservant in the popular Pink Panther films.

He was cast as the servant Kato, the spelling of which was later changed to Cato, in the 1964 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.

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

During an interview in 2010 with film historian Barry Littlechild at The Cinema Museum, he spoke about working with Sellers.

He said: "I know that since Peter died, which is 30 years ago, there's been a lot of knocking copy on it, books, articles, films, television programmes, radio programmes, and they've all sort of dwelled on the dark side of Peter.

"I never really saw anything of the dark side. For me it was the light side of Peter Sellers I knew and enjoyed, and would like to remember."

He starred in seven films in the Pink Panther franchise, appearing alongside Sellers, Roger Moore and Roberto Benigni in their incarnations of the inept French detective Inspector Clouseau.

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

Talking about the role of Cato to Littlechild, he explained: "Until then martial arts had always been taken very seriously and in the early 60s judo became the fashionable thing, everyone wanted to know about judo, and it was done in a very serious way like Bruce Lee, and we decided to take the Michael out of it, so we did."

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

But he memorably returned to the small screen in BBC's Last Of The Summer Wine as Chinese electrician Entwistle, from 2003 until its end in 2010.

Born in Warrington in 1930, he was raised in Shanghai, China, until he was 17, when he moved to the United States.

His plans to study in the US were thwarted when his family's wealth was wiped out in the 1949 revolution, and he came back to Britain in 1954.

He is quoted as recalling that his girlfriend at the time 'nagged me into acting'.

His first role was in a film called Windom's Way and he then landed what is considered his big break in The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness.

He has three James Bond credits to his name, appearing in Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice and the 1967 spoof Casino Royale.

His best-known TV work includes shows like The Avengers and Danger Man and another of his film credits is Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun.

He married Caroline Tebbs in 1961 and the couple had a son together. He was honoured with an OBE for his services to drama in the 2011 New Year's Honours list.

His family will be having a private funeral but there will be a memorial service at a later date.