Charlie Chan actor Layne Tom, Jr. has died, aged 87.

Tom, Jr. passed away on 14 January (15) at his home in Huntington Beach, California, his family has confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

He is known as being the only actor to play three different sons of the fictional Chinese-American detective, and the only one to work alongside both Charlie Chan stars, Warner Oland and Sydney Toler.

Tom, Jr. first starred as Charlie Chan, Jr. in Charlie Chan at the Olympics in 1937, Tommy Chan in 1938's Charlie Chan in Honolulu, and Willie Chan, Chan's number seven son in 1940's Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise.

He later filmed two documentaries about the popular franchise, Charlie Chan: Layne Tom, Jr: The Adventures of Charlie Chan, Jr. and Legacy of Charlie Chan in 2006.

Tom, Jr. also appeared in Oscar-winning films such as The Good Earth, The Hurricane and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

He also appeared on the small screen in Adventures in Paradise, Hawaiian Eye and The Barbara Stanwyck Show.

Tom, Jr. served in the U.S. Navy and was also a revered architect, designing banks, fire stations, courthouses, libraries and shopping centres in Los Angeles.