Actor Leslie Phillips, the voice behind the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter, passes away at 98
The Tottenham-born actor also worked on the BBC’s radio sitcom, The Navy Lark
British comic actor Leslie Phillips, best known for his voice of the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter and one of the performers in the Carry On film series, reportedly died from a prolonged illness at 98. His agent, Jonathan Lloyd shared with media outlets that the seasoned actor passed away yesterday morning ‘peacefully’ while asleep.
Phillips, more prominently known as the voice of the Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter films, had additionally performed in 200 movies, TV and radio series during his 80-year-long career. Survived by his wife, Zara, who, reportedly said that the actor was a ‘national treasure,’ he further added, “I’ve lost a wonderful husband and the public has lost a truly great showman. People loved him. He was mobbed everywhere he went.”
The much-loved actor is furthermore renowned for his character of an oblivious officer in the BBC radio show, The Navy Lark, which ran for 17 years alongside English comedian, actor and writer, Ronnie Barker and TV presenter, Jon Pertwee. Throughout the 1970s, Phillips directed as well as starred in films such as the 1974 film, Don’t Just Lie There, Say Something, and the 1976 film, Spanish Fly. He also appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Falstaff and as Chekov in August.
In television, he portrayed James Blake in the Chaucer series from 1990 to 1991 and in Simon West’s 2001 action and adventure film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider before offering the voice of the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter movies. Some fans remember him for his catchphrase ‘Ding Dong,’ as the character of Jack Bell in Gerald Thomas’ 1959 British comedy film, Carry On Nurse. It was regarded as his funniest performance.
The Tottenham-born actor also played a wolf in the Peter Pan production followed by the 1957 Hollywood musical film, Les Girls, which garnered him fame and glory. However, for contemporary fans and audiences, he is cherished primarily because of his voice of the Sorting Hat, a conscious and bewitched hat that sorts the students of Hogwarts into one of the four houses - Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin respectively, on the basis of their personalities and attributes.