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Cinema

Leslie Phillips, “Carry On” Star, Voice of Sorting Hat, Dies

November 9, 2022

LONDON — Leslie Phillips, the British actor best known for his roles in the bawdy “Carry On” comedies and as the voice of the Sorting Hat in the “Harry Potter” movies, has died. He was 98.

His agent, Jonathan Lloyd, confirmed Tuesday that Phillips died “peacefully at home” on Monday.

The veteran actor made his first film appearances in the 1930s. He is remembered for his exaggerated comic portrayal of the English upper-class after starring in “Carry On Nurse,” “Carry On Teacher” and “Carry On Constable” in 1959 and 1960.

During this time he became well-known for his suggestive catchphrases, including “Ding dong,” “Well, hello,” and “I say!”

While Phillips’ film acting career consisted mostly of comedy roles, he later moved into other work including a turn opposite Peter O’Toole in the 2006 film “Venus” that earned him a BAFTA nomination for best supporting actor. He also voiced the Sorting Hat in the “Harry Potter” franchise.

Leslie Samuel Phillips was born in Tottenham, north London, on April 20, 1924. He studied drama, dance and elocution at the Italia Conti Stage School, before serving as a lieutenant during World War II.

After the war he began to get leading roles on the stage and screen. His big break came in 1957 when he appeared in the Gene Kelly musical “Les Girls.”

In the 1980s he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and played roles such as Falstaff in “The Merry Wives Of Windsor.”

He suffered a stroke in 2014 while shopping in London, but made a strong recovery.

Phillips was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2008 in recognition of his acting career.

 

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