British comic actor Graham Stark dies at 91  Photo: Courtesy

British comic actor Graham Stark, best known for his recurring roles opposite Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther films, has died aged 91.

The actor died in London on Tuesday after recently suffering a stroke.

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 Inspector Clouseau's stone-faced assistant, Hercule Lajoy, a role he reprised in 1982's Trail of the Pink Panther. The part saw him say little more than "Oui, monsieur" to Clouseau's orders.

He later starred as Dr Auguste Balls in Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) and Son of the Pink Panther (1993).

He memorably also appeared in 1976's The Pink Panther Strikes Again, playing a German hotel clerk in a scene where Clouseau is bitten by a dog.

"I Stark, who was born in Wallesey, Merseyside, made his professional debut at the Lyceum theatre in London in a pantomime aged 13.

After studying at Rada he volunteered for the RAF. During the war years he entertained the troops around the world with fellow airmen and future stars Sellers, Tony Hancock and Dick Emery.

Stark was a keen photographer and had exhibited his work - mainly images of his acting colleagues and friends - around the world. His autobiography, Stark Naked, was published in 2003.

He is survived by his wife, the actress Audrey Nicholson, and three children