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Wirral comic legend Graham Stark dies
12:29pm Thursday 31st October 2013 in News
WIRRAL-born comic actor and director Graham Stark has died this week.
The star, who appeared in more than 100 films, but known to millions for his roles opposite comic great Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther films, died, aged 91, at his London home on Tuesday following a stroke.
His career in entertainment began when he was just 13, in pantomime at the Lyceum theatre in London.
After studying at Rada he volunteered for the RAF. During the war he entertained troops around the world with fellow airmen and future stars Sellers, Tony Hancock and Dick Emery.
After appearances in numerous comedy TV shows, including The Idiot Weekly and Benny Hill he was given his own BBC sketch series in 1964.
Among his screen roles were appearances in Superman III, Alfie and James Bond spoof Casino Royale - alongside David Niven.
But it was his friendship with Sellers that secured his roles in the Pink Panther series, beginning with 1964 film A Shot in the Dark.
He played a German hotel clerk in The Pink Panther Strikes Again in 1976 and Inspector Clouseau's stone-faced assistant, Hercule Lajoy in 1982's Trail of the Pink Panther.
He later starred as Dr Auguste Balls in 1978's Revenge of the Pink Panther and Son of the Pink Panther in 1993.
He directed the comedy film Simon Simon in 1970 and The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins a year later. His autobiography, Stark Naked, was published in 2003.
He is survived by his wife, the actress Audrey Nicholson, and three children.
Actress Joanna Lumley, who appeared with Graham in Trail Of The Pink Panther, said Stark was "full of madness, energy, optimism, kindness and wild humour".
She said: "Being with him is like doing the Cresta Run on a bouncy castle: unpredictable and huge fun."
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