Carry On star Leslie Phillips dies aged 98

  • John Ray looks back on Leslie Phillips' life, after his death aged 98.

Carry On and Harry Potter star Leslie Phillips has died at the age of 98.

Phillips made his first film appearances in the 1930s, and had an illustrious career spanning eight decades.

The veteran actor, who died on Monday, spent eight decades in the spotlight and became well known for his suggestive catchphrases which included “Ding Dong”, “Well, hello” and “I Say!”.

According to his agent Jonathan Lloyd, Phillips died "peacefully in his sleep" on Monday.

Although he became known for his plummy accent and exaggerated portrayals of the English upper-class, Phillips was born in Tottenham, north London, speaking estuary English.

He attended the respected Italia Conti Stage School before serving as a lieutenant in the Durham Light Infantry between 1942 and 1945, when he was invalided out.

The 1930s marked his first film appearances and in 1959 and 1960 he starred in three Carry On films, Carry On Nurse, Carry On Teacher and Carry On Constable, cementing his reputation for playing incompetent albeit smooth toffs.

Leslie Phillips in 1989.

It was during this time that he developed his well-known catchphrases, which he delivered with suggestive intonation.

He later hinted these were partly based on the work of fellow actor and comic Terry-Thomas.

In later years, Phillips moved away from comedy and into more dramatic roles, including a Bafta-nominated turn opposite Peter O’Toole in 2006’s Venus. He also voiced the Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter films.

He suffered a stroke in 2014 while on a shopping trip on London’s Oxford Street but made a strong recovery and returned home following a hospital stay.

Phillips was made an OBE in the 1998 Birthday Honours and was promoted to CBE in the 2008 New Year Honours.

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