Carry On and Harry Potter actor Leslie Phillips has died after battling illness at the age of 98.
Phillips died “peacefully in his sleep” on Monday, his agent Jonathan Lloyd confirmed. 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!”.
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.
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.
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.
He later moved into more dramatic roles, including a Bafta-nominated turn opposite Peter O’Toole in 2006’s Venus and also voiced the Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter films.
Phillips was made an OBE in the 1998 Birthday Honours and was promoted to CBE in the 2008 New Year Honours.
His death leaves 86-year-old Jim Dale as the last surviving Carry On regular following the death of Dame Barbara Windsor in 2020.
Top picture: Leslie Phillips and fellow Hell-raiser Peter O’Toole.