After a long illness, English actor and voice artist Leslie Phillips, best known for lending his voice to the Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter franchise, as well as the smooth-talking man in the Carry On films, has died at age 98. The actor’s agent, Jonathan Lloyd, confirmed that Phillips died “peacefully in his sleep.”
The actor’s wife, Zara, also confirmed the saddening news via The Sun, saying that not only did she lose a “wonderful husband,” but the public also lost a great performer. “He was quite simply a national treasure. People loved him. He was mobbed everywhere he went,” she continued. “When we married he cheekily introduced me to the Press as royalty, insisting I was the new Zara Phillips and that I was related to the Queen.”
Over his eight-decade glimmering career, Phillips starred in over 200 films. Along with Ronnie Barker and Jon Pertwee, the actor co-starred on the hit BBC radio show The Navy Lark for 17 years. Despite the fact that he only appeared in four of the 31 Carry On films, the actor asserted that his famous catchphrases, such as “Ding dong,” “Lumme,” “I say,” and “Well, hello”—which he delivered with compelling and often exaggerated tonality—followed him for the rest of his career. Phillips died two years after another Carry On alum, Barbara Windsor, died at age 83. He also took on dramatic roles, such as his appearance in the 2006 film Venus. In 2008, Phillips received a CBE medal, or Commander of the British Empire, from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in London.
Phillips began acting in the 1930s and made his Broadway debut as a wolf in Peter Pan in 1937. Due to his plummy, suave accent, his film career took off in the late 1950s, and he has appeared in the 1952 film For Better, For Worse and the 1957 war drama High Flight, as well as the three Carry On films: Carry On Nurse and Carry On Teacher in 1959, and Carry On Constable in 1960. Phillips left the Carry On light to star in other films, and his career has since soared to greater heights, with appearances in Crooks Anonymous, Doctor in Clover, Don’t Just Lie There, Say Something!, Empire of the Sun, Scandal, and Chancer, from the 1960s until the early 90s.
The actor continued his long-standing career in the 2000s, where he starred opposite Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Known for his flamboyant voice, the star also lent his voice to the three Harry Potter films, including Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
Our condolences go out to Phillips‘ family and friends at this difficult time.