Carry On icon Leslie Phillips who starred in Harry Potter dies aged 98

8 November 2022, 11:55 | Updated: 8 November 2022, 13:22

Carry On and Harry Potter star Leslie Phillips dead at 98
Carry On and Harry Potter star Leslie Phillips dead at 98. Picture: Glasshouse Images / Alamy Stock PhotoC

By Danielle DeWolfe

Veteran actor and Carry On star Leslie Phillips has died at the age of 98.

Best known for catchphrases including "Ding Dong" and "Well, Hello" in the classic Carry On movies, Leslie also voiced The Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter films.

Leslie is said to have died peacefully in his sleep on Monday following a long illness. It also follows two strokes just six months apart.

A career that spanned eight decades, Phillips starred in over 200 movies, television and radio series over the course of his career.

His death comes nearly two years after the passing of Dame Barbara Windsor, leaving 86-year-old Jim Dale as the last surviving Carry On regular.

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Veteran actor Leslie Phillips meeting the Queen.
Veteran actor Leslie Phillips meeting the Queen. Picture: Contributor: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Tragedy struck in April 2011 when his second wife, Bond girl Angela Scoular - who he first met on the set of Carry on Nurse - ended her own life as she faced a terminal bowel cancer diagnosis,

Family friend Zara Carr, who was 30 years his junior, went on to console Leslie following Angela’s death. The pair later went on to tie the knot.

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 was also made an OBE in the 1998 Birthday Honours list, which was promoted to CBE in the 2008 New Year Honours.

Leslie starred alongside Barbara Windsor and Jim Dale, 86 in the Carry On films.
Leslie starred alongside Barbara Windsor and Jim Dale, 86 in the Carry On films. Picture: Contributor: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

A veteran Shakespearian actor, the telly icon starred alongside Ronnie Barker and Jon Pertwee on hit BBC radio show ‘The Navy Lark' for more than 17 years.

Born on 20th April 1924 to a working class family in North London, he was best known for his starring role as the sweet-talking ladies man in the 'Carry On' and ‘Doctor’ comedy films in the 1950s and 60s.

A year after his father Fred's death aged 44, Leslie's mother, Margaret, sent the then 10-year-old to the Italia Conte stage school in London to lose his Cockney accent.

Working in West End plays alongside Hollywood stars Vivien Leigh and Rex Harrison by the time he was 14, Leslie's first big screen role came in The Thief of Baghdad, recorded at Pinewood Studios.

He also went on to fight in World War II from 1943, Leslie served as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery.

Tributes have poured in following the announcement, with writers and screen stars including Sanjeev Bhaskar paying tribute to the late actor.

LBC's Steven Allen took to Twitter to reflect on his passing: "RIP you brought much joy to millions"

Bhaskar tweeted: "One of the wonderful elements of doing #TheKumars42 was combining guests like here, Madness and the wonderful #LesliePhillips, who couldn't have been more of a gent.

"A truly warm, funny and gentle man #RIPLesliePhillips."

Coronation Street actor Tony Maudsley, who worked with Phillips, tweeted: "RIP Leslie Phillips. Working with him was a joy. And yes he did say DING DONG (because I asked him to)."

Recently appearing on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Disks, You Make Me Feel So Young by Frank Sinatra was picked as his favourite track.

He added The Rudiments of Several Useful Languages was his favoured book, while a Chess board with jade pieces his choice of luxury item.

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