LONDON -- Trevor Howard, 71, the veteran English film actor who frequently portrayed a staunch British officer and starred in such classics as "The Third Man" and "Brief Encounter," died Jan. 7 at a hospital near his home in the London suburb of Arkley. He had influenza, bronchitis and jaundice.

Mr. Howard's acting career spanned 47 years. He was nominated for an Academy Award and won an American Emmy award for television acting.

Although a performer of great range, Mr. Howard's best-remembered film roles are those of inflexible men of action: the POW leader in "Von Ryan's Express," Captain Bligh opposite Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian in "Mutiny on the Bounty," and the tight-lipped Lord Cardigan, who led the charge in "The Charge of the Light Brigade."

In private life, Mr. Howard's drinking bouts often got him into trouble, as when he ordered champagne for 39 violinists in a Paris nightclub and was arrested when unable to pay the bill.

Born in Margate, England, Mr. Howard was raised in Ceylon, which is now Sri Lanka, Los Angeles and Canada. He studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he received a scholarship. He made his first stage appearance at age 18 at London's Gate Theater in "Revolt in a Reformatory."

He was given a medical discharge from the British army in 1943 and a chance meeting with director Carol Reed led to his first film role, as a naval officer in "The Way Ahead."

Three years later Noel Coward and director David Lean offered him the part that was to establish his reputation as an international star in "Brief Encounter," in which he costarred with Celia Johnson.

A succession of Reed films followed, including Graham Greene's "The Third Man," in which he played a briskly efficient police major.

It was for a different type of character, the miner Morel in the screen version of D.H. Lawrence's autobiographical "Sons and Lovers," that he received an Oscar nomination in 1960.

He received an Emmy award as the best actor of the year for his portrayal of Benjamin Disraeli in the TV film "The Invincible Mr. Disraeli" in 1963.

The British Film Academy honored him with its best actor award in 1958 for his performance as a doomed British tugboat captain in "The Key." Mr. Howard's most recent feature role was in "Gandhi" in 1982.

His stage career included roles in "French Without Tears" in 1936, "The Cherry Orchard" in 1954, "The Father" in 1964 and "Waltz of the Toreadors" in 1974.

Mr. Howard was married in 1944 to British actress Helen Cherry, who survives.