LONDON (Reuters) – Veteran British actor Leslie Phillips, known for his roles in the “Carry On” comedy films, has died aged 98.
Phillips died on Monday morning “peacefully in his sleep”, his agent Jonathan Lloyd said in an emailed statement.
The comic actor, who often played well-spoken English gentlemen-type roles, was born in Tottenham, north-east London in 1924 and received elocution lessons as a child to correct his cockney accent.
Phillips made his debut with an uncredited part in “Lassie from Lancashire” in 1938 and went on to carve out a successful stage, screen and radio acting career.
He appeared with comedians Ronnie Barker and Jon Pertwee on BBC radio show “The Navy Lark” for 17 years, and was the voice of the Sorting Hat in three of the “Harry Potter” films, sending the boy wizard to Gryffindor house at Hogwarts school.
However, Phillips, who was nominated for a BAFTA award for his role in 2006 comedy drama “Venus”, is best known for his smooth-talking rogue parts in the “Carry On” films and his characters’ catchphrases like “Ding Dong” and “Hello”.
“I’ve lost a wonderful husband and the public has lost a truly great showman. He was quite simply a national treasure,” Phillips’s wife Zara told The Sun newspaper.
“People loved him. He was mobbed everywhere he went.”
(Reporting by Lisa Keddie, editing by Ed Osmond)