Burt Kwouk film scripts sale leads to new donation for hospice
Actor was 'an amazing man, a genuinely lovely person'
04 January, 2018 — By Richard Osley
Pink Panther memorabilia was sold by auctioneers, Bonhams
HE was a movie actor living in a back street in West Hampstead, known for his generous nature and gentle modesty despite his big screen fame.
So Burt Kwouk, who starred in the Pink Panther movies, would no doubt have approved of how his collection of film scripts has helped a local hospice in Hampstead. Auctioneers Bonhams confirmed that the Eden Hall Hospice is set to receive a share of the money generated by the sale of some of the unique items he had kept from his days starring opposite Peter Sellers in the comedy series.
Mr Kwouk died at the hospice in Lyndhurst Gardens in 2016 aged 85 following a career that also saw him appear in BBC drama Tenko, sci-fi movie Rollerball and, in his later years, sketches with comedian Harry Hill. But he was perhaps best known for his role in the Pink Panther movies in the 1970s and his role as Inspector Clouseau’s faithful manservant, Cato Fong.
The sale last month saw bidders race to buy drafts of The Pink Panther Strikes Again and The Revenge Of The Pink Panther, while the hammer went down on a sale price of £1,750 on the final script for The Return Of The Pink Panther. Mr Kwouk’s wife Caroline had already organised an online fundraiser for the hospice, explaining at the time of how he had received “wonderful treatment”, adding: “He wanted everyone to give to the hospice instead of buying a two and sixpence bunch of flowers.”
[All photos: Bonhams]
A blue plaque erected by the Heritage Foundation at Mr Kwouk’s former home in Agamemnon Road was unveiled by comedian Barry Cryer and actor Vicki Michelle last year. “He was an amazing man, a genuinely lovely person. Everyone knew the Pink Panther, they loved him,” said the ’Allo ’Allo actor Ms Michelle. “Burt was very witty, and had a very British sense of humour. I don’t think he minded the stereotypical characters. And he got amazing parts. “People used to ask him, ‘do you mind playing Chinese people like this?, and he’d say, ‘they can call me anything you like, as long as they spell my name right’.”
A spokeswoman for Bonhams said: “Bonhams was delighted to present a collection of scripts from the legendary film series, The Pink Panther. The scripts were originally used by Burt Kwouk, the late British actor who played Cato in the series. As a fitting testament to Kwouk, a proportion of the proceeds from the sale were donated to the Marie Curie Eden Hall Hospice in Hampstead, who looked after Kwouk.”
A spokeswoman for Marie Curie said: “The Marie Curie Hospice Hampstead is very grateful for donations, which allow us to continue to provide vital care and support for people affected by any terminal illness.”