Leslie Phillips: Carry On and Harry Potter star dies aged 98

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Actor Leslie Phillips, who was known for appearing in the Carry On films, has died aged 98 after a long illness.

Phillips was also familiar to younger fans as the voice of the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter films.

His wife 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’ agent Jonathan Lloyd confirmed the star died peacefully in his sleep on Monday.

The comic actor starred in more 200 films, TV and radio series over his eight-decade career.

He was known for catchphrases such as “Ding dong”, “I say” and “Well, hello”, which he delivered with suggestive intonation.

Actor Leslie Phillips pictured during filming on the set of episode 'The Changeling' of the BBC drama series 'Performance', February 4th 1993.

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While he only starred in four of the 31 Carry On films, the actor said his famous catchphrases followed him for the rest of his career.

His death – which comes two years after Barbara Windsor’s – leaves Jim Dale, 86, as the last surviving regular from the Carry On films.

Coronation Street actor Tony Maudsley, who worked with Phillips, was among those paying tribute, tweeting: “RIP Leslie Phillips. Working with him was a joy. And yes he did say DING DONG (because I asked him to).”

Trainspotting writer Irvine Welsh posted his own tribute to Phillips, who he exchanged messages with online, saying he “always liked his pater”.

Broadcaster Piers Morgan said it was “sad news”, describing Phillips as a “wonderful character and superb comedy actor”.

Author Melanie Blake added: “Another legend gone, thanks for the entertainment old chap.”

Phillips pictured outside Buckingham Palace after receiving a OBE from Queen Elizabeth II in 1998

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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 Italia Conti Stage School before serving as a lieutenant in the Durham Light Infantry during World War Two – between 1942 and 1945, when he was invalided out.

The 1930s had marked his first film appearances, but it was later in his career, in 1959 and 1960, when he starred in Carry On Nurse, Carry On Teacher and Carry On Constable.

He became well known for his appearances in the Doctor film franchise – replacing Dirk Bogarde in films like 1960’s Doctor in Love – as well as in a series of fast-moving comedies that teamed him with Scots comedian and impressionist Stanley Baxter.

He also appeared in Brothers In Law, The Smallest Show On Earth and The Man Who Liked Funerals.

For 17 years he appeared alongside Ronnie Barker and Jon Pertwee on hit BBC radio show The Navy Lark.

He also took on dramatic roles, including a Bafta-nominated appearance opposite Peter O’Toole in 2006’s Venus.

A long-term fan of Tottenham Hotspur, Phillips appeared on the pitch as part of the half-time entertainment during the team’s home match against Swansea City in 2012.

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

The actor suffered two strokes six months apart at the age of 90.

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