Carry On and Harry Potter star Leslie Phillips dies aged 98

Virgin Radio

8 Nov 2022, 13:03

Leslie Phillips

Credit: Getty

Celebrated actor and voice over artist Leslie Phillips has died aged 98. 

Leslie was best known for his popular catchphrases, such as “I say", "Ding Dong", and “Well Hello”, in the Carry On films, starring in Carry On Nurse, Carry On Teacher, Carry on Constable and Carry on Columbus. 

He also found a new generation of fans after voicing The Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter films, first starring in 2001’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. 

As well as his comedic roles, Leslie was known for his dramatic projects, and landed a BAFTA nomination after 2006’s Venus alongside Peter O'Toole.

Before starring in over 200 films, TV and radio series across eight decades, Leslie made his stage debut in 1937 in Peter Pan at the London Palladium, before moving on to the screen in Gene Kelly music Les Girls in 1957. 

As well as the Carry On films, he was also known for his character roles in TV series such as Heartbeat, Midsomer Murders and Monarch of the Glen. 

He took over from Dirk Bogarde in the beloved Doctor in the House film series in the 1960s, and later had a role in the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 2001 flick. 

Leslie was made an OBE during the 1998 Birthday Honours, and a CBE in the 2008 New Year Honours. 

Confirming the news to The Sun, his wife Zara Carr said: “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.

"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."

Tributes have been pouring in for the veteran actor on social media. Piers Morgan tweeted: “RIP Leslie Phillips, 98. Wonderful character & superb comedy actor, best known for his what he called his 'lecherous twit' roles in the Carry On & Doctor In The House films with his catchphrases, 'Ding Dong', 'Well, Hello' and 'I Say..' Sad news.”

Actor Sanjeev Bhaskar commented: “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.”

The thoughts of everyone at Virgin Radio go out to Leslie’s friends and family.