Harry Potter actor Leslie Phillips dies aged 98

British actor Leslie Phillips, known for his roles in the Carry On and Harry Potter film franchises, has passed away at the age of 98.

The BAFTA-nominated performer provided the iconic voice of the Sorting Hat in the first two Harry Potter films and returned for the final instalment.

Leslie Phillips.
Leslie Phillips passed away at the age of 98 after a long illness. Photo: Getty

Leslie’s agent Jonathan Lloyd confirmed that the star died peacefully in his sleep on Monday following a long illness. The veteran performer suffered two strokes six months apart at the age of 90 which left him confined to a wheelchair.

His wife Zara Carr has since paid tribute, telling 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.”


Leslie starred in over 200 films, TV and radio series across his eight-decade career in the entertainment industry, including the Gene Kelly musical Les Girls, Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun, and the comedy-drama film Venus.

The comic actor was well known for his suggestive catchphrases “Ding dong", “I say” and “Well, hello” from his four films in the Carry On franchise, which he said followed him throughout his entire career.

He was also honoured with an OBE in 1998 by Queen Elizabeth and was made a CBE in recognition of his acting career in 2008.

The Sorting Hat in Harry Potter.
Leslie provided the iconic voice of the Sorting Hat in three of the Harry Potter films. Photo: Warner Bros.

‘The nicest man I’ve ever met’

Tributes have flooded in following news of Leslie’s death, with his former co-star and Coronation Street actor Tony Maudsley tweeting: “RIP Leslie Phillips. Working with him was a joy. And yes he did say DING DONG (because I asked him to).”

“We are incredibly sad to hear of the passing of the wonderful Leslie Phillips who voiced the Sorting Hat with such inimitable wit and style in the Harry Potter films,” the official Harry Potter Twitter account wrote.


Eastenders star Stuart Antony described him as “a true gentleman, fantastic actor and the nicest man I’ve ever met”.

English broadcaster Gyles Brandreth also added: “He had a wicked sense of humour, such skill as a performer and a unique style that made every performance memorable, watchable and joyous. Honoured to have known him and to salute a long and special life.”

Leslie is survived by his third wife Zara, who he married in 2013, and his four children.

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