Sir Peter Ustinov, the double Oscar-winning British actor, writer,raconteur and humanitarian, has died aged 82.

According to reports, Ustinov passed away on Sunday aftersuffering a heart attack at his Swiss home.

Over the course of an acting career spanning seven decades heimbued a variety of roles with his trademark wit and irascible mannerisms.

He famously stepped into the shoes of two fictitious detectives,playing Hercule Poirot on several occasions including Death On The Nile and Charlie Chan in Charlie Chan AndThe Curse Of The Dragon Queen.

Ustinov won best supporting actor Oscars for his memorable rolesas a slave trader in Stanley Kubrick's 1960 epic drama Spartacus and as a con man in Jules Dassin's 1964crime caper Topkapi.

Ustinov was born in London on Apr 16 1921 to a Russian artistmother and journalist father. He left Westminster School at the age of 16,whereupon he went into theatre and had his first play presented at the age of19.

He served for 35 years as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and wasknighted in 1990.

Among his other memorable screen roles are Quo Vadis' (1951) in which he was an unforgettableEmperor Nero, We're No Angels (1955), Lola Montes (1955), The Sundowners (1960), Billy Budd (1962), The Comedians (1967) and One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing (1975).

Ustinov leavesbehind four children and his third wife Helene du Lau d'Allemans.