LONDON: Actor Leslie Phillips, who was known for appearing in the Carry On films, has died aged 98 after a long illness. Phillips was also familiar to younger fans as the voice of the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter films.
His wife Zara told the Sun: “I’ve lost a wonderful husband and the public has lost a truly great showman. “He was quite simply a national treasure. People loved him. He was mobbed everywhere he went.” Phillips’ agent Jonathan Lloyd confirmed the star died peacefully in his sleep on Monday.
The comedy Casanova who made it to Hogwarts. The comic actor starred in more than 200 films, TV and radio series over his eight-decade career.
He was known for catchphrases such as “Ding dong” – a reference to the name of his character Jack Bell in 1959’s Carry on Nurse – “I say” and “Well, hello”, which he delivered with suggestive intonation.
While he only starred in four of the 31 Carry On films, the actor said his famous catchphrases followed him for the rest of his career. His death – which comes two years after Barbara Windsor’s – leaves Jim Dale, 86, as the last surviving regular from the Carry On films. Coronation Street actor Tony Maudsley, who worked with Phillips, was among those paying tribute, tweeting: “RIP Leslie Phillips. Working with him was a joy. And yes he did say DING DONG (because I asked him to).”
Actor and comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar shared a video of the “wonderful” Phillips on his own BBC show, The Kumars at No 42, in which the late star recalled how he once found himself stuck in the London Underground surrounded by members of the public demanding he do his catchphrases.
Bhaskar recalled him as “a truly warm, funny and gentle man”.
Trainspotting writer Irvine Welsh posted his own tribute to Phillips, who he exchanged messages with online, saying he “always liked his pater”. Broadcaster Piers Morgan said it was “sad news”, describing Phillips as a “wonderful character and superb comedy actor”. Author Melanie Blake added: “Another legend gone, thanks for the entertainment old chap.”