Leslie Phillips

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Leslie Phillips

LesliePhillipsBAFTA07 crop and mirror.jpg
Phillips at the Orange British Academy Film Awards in February 2007
Born
Leslie Samuel Phillips

(1924-04-20) 20 April 1924 (age 98)
Tottenham, London, England
Occupation
  • Actor
  • voice artist
  • author
Years active1934–2012[1]
Spouse(s)
  • Penelope Bartley
    (m. 1948; div. 1965)
  • (m. 1982; died 2011)
  • Zara Carr
    (m. 2013)
Children4

Leslie Samuel Phillips CBE (born 20 April 1924) is an English retired actor, voice artist and author. He achieved prominence in the 1950s, often playing smooth, upper-class comic roles utilising his "Ding Dong" and "He-llo" catchphrases. He appeared in the Carry On and Doctor in the House film series as well as the long-running BBC radio comedy series The Navy Lark. In his later career, Phillips took on dramatic parts including providing the voice for the Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter films and a BAFTA-nominated role alongside Peter O'Toole in Venus (2006).

Early life[edit]

Phillips was born on 20 April 1924 in Tottenham, London, England, the son of Cecelia Margaret (née Newlove) and Frederick Samuel Phillips, who worked at Glover and Main, manufacturers of cookers in Edmonton; the "filthy, sulphurous" air of the factory gave Frederick a weak heart and oedema, leading to his death at the age of 44. In 1931, the family moved to Chingford, Essex, where Phillips attended Larkswood Primary School.[2] Consequently, Phillips has described himself as both a cockney and an Essex boy.[3]

At his mother's arrangement, the 10-year-old Phillips was sent to the Italia Conti Academy where he attended drama, dance and notably elocution to lose his cockney accent.[3][4][5] At that time a strong regional accent was a major impediment to an aspiring actor. It proved to be an astute move and was a major factor in his subsequent success.[6]

Career[edit]

Early work[edit]

Phillips made his stage debut at the age of 10 in Peter Pan alongside Anna Neagle at the London Palladium.[7][8]

Phillips made his first film appearances as a child in the 1930s. He is the last surviving actor who performed at Pinewood Studios in its first week of opening in 1936. He also worked for Binkie Beaumont and H. M. Tennent in several plays in the West End. During the Second World War shows were frequently interrupted by air-raid sirens and Phillips recalls in his autobiography that "audiences would evaporate and head for cellars or Underground stations".

Called up to the British Army in 1942, Phillips rose to the rank of lance-bombardier in the Royal Artillery. Due to his acquired upper class accent, Phillips was selected for officer training at Catterick and duly commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Artillery in 1943.[6] In his autobiography, he would recall that his anti-aircraft battery destroyed numerous German V1 flying bombs launched against the UK during the period. He was transferred to the Durham Light Infantry in 1944 but was later declared unfit for service just before D-Day after being diagnosed with a neurological condition that caused partial paralysis.[6] He was initially sent to a psychiatric hospital in error but was then sent to the correct facility for treatment.

Demobbed as a lieutenant in December 1944, Phillips' acting career initially took in "the murkiest rat-infested old playhouses and music halls in the north of England". It was during the 1950s that he became known for playing amusing English stereotypes. His first lead role in a television serial was in the sitcom My Wife Jacqueline (1952).[9] His seductive voice is his trademark as well as his catchphrases, "I say, Ding Dong" (originally the catchphrase of Phillips's character Jack Bell in Carry On Nurse), and "He-llo" with a suggestive intonation, which were partly, if not wholly, based on those of fellow actor Terry-Thomas who was also known for playing cads.

His big break in the films was in the Gene Kelly musical Les Girls (1957).[6] Although the film was a critical success, he decided against a move to Hollywood, in part as he considered himself primarily a theatre actor and didn't want to become "the poor man’s David Niven".[3][8] Soon after he appeared in three of the early Carry On films; Carry On Nurse, Carry On Teacher (both 1959) and Carry On Constable (1960), which cemented his reputation for playing upper class fools and lecherous smoothies.[6] After Constable, he told producer Peter Rogers that he did not wish to do any more Carry Ons, though he did return much later for Carry On Columbus (1992). In the 1960s, he took over from Dirk Bogarde in several of the Doctor film comedies.

In 1959 he played in Italy the role of an English journalist on a business trip to the Kingdom of Naples in the comedy film Ferdinando I °, Re di Napoli (Ferdinand the 1st, King of Naples) starring the brothers Eduardo, Peppino and Titina De Filippo, leading Neapolitan figures of Italian theatre. The cast also featured other prominent Italian comedy actors such as Aldo Fabrizi, Vittorio De Sica, Renato Rascel as well as a young Marcello Mastroianni.

Between 1959 and 1977, Phillips became familiar on radio, as Sub-Lieutenant Phillips in the comedy The Navy Lark alongside Jon Pertwee and Ronnie Barker.[10] He also appeared in the film version of The Navy Lark (1959), the only cast member of the radio series to do so.

Later work[edit]

After his marriage to Angela Scoular in 1982, Phillips decided to move away from playing the kind of lecherous twits with suave chat-up lines which had characterised much of his previous work. He remained busy in both stage and television productions, along with character roles in films such as Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun (1987), Scandal (1989) and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). Phillips also provided the voice for the Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter films, appearing in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) and the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011). He also appeared in British television sitcoms including Honey for Tea with Felicity Kendal and appeared in guest roles in popular series such as The Bill, Holby City and Midsomer Murders. In 2006, Phillips plays veteran actor Ian alongside Peter O'Toole in Hanif Kureishi's film Venus. For this role, he was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor in 2007.[11] Phillips' autobiography, Hello (ISBN 0-7528-8178-7), was published by Orion in 2006.

He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1998 Birthday Honours and was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours.[7]

Phillips, in conjunction with Jules Williams and Back Door Productions,[12] co-produced the Sky Arts series Living The Life[13] which ran for three series.

In 2012, in conjunction with Amazing Journeys Publishing, Phillips voiced the audiobook Chequered Justice by former racing driver John Bartlett (ISBN 9780956910486).

Personal life[edit]

Phillips married his first wife, actress Penelope Bartley (1925–1981), on 30 May 1948.[14] The couple had four children.[7]

In 1962, Phillips began a romantic relationship with actress Caroline Mortimer, daughter of writer Penelope Mortimer and stepdaughter of John Mortimer, who was an understudy in a stage play in which Phillips starred. Phillips and Bartley separated at that point and were divorced in 1965.[14]

After his relationship with Mortimer ended, Phillips embarked on a relationship with Australian actress Vicki Luke,[15] with whom he lived for approximately three years.

He moved in with actress Angela Scoular in 1977, at which time she was pregnant by another actor. He raised her son as his own.[16]

While on tour in Australia in 1981 he was notified that Bartley had died in a fire. Phillips elected to continue in the production and not attend her funeral. He has acknowledged that his family has never forgiven him for this decision.[14]

Following the death of his first wife in 1981, he married Scoular in 1982.[16] They remained together until her death on 11 April 2011. Scoular was suffering from bowel cancer and bipolar disorder.[17] Phillips was too ill to attend the inquest into Scoular's death three months later. The coroner recorded that Scoular had "killed herself while the balance of her mind was disturbed", and stated that her death was not suicide.[17]

On 20 December 2013, at the age of 89, Phillips married Zara Carr (born 1963), his third wife.[18]

He is a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur F.C., and made an appearance as part of the half-time entertainment during the team's home match against Swansea City A.F.C. on 1 April 2012.[19]

He received the Freedom of the City of London on 16 November 2010.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1938 Lassie from Lancashire Small role Uncredited [20]
1938 The Citadel Small role Uncredited [20]
1938 Climbing High Small role Uncredited [20]
1939 The Mikado Boy Uncredited [20]
1939 The Four Feathers Boy at Parade Uncredited [20]
1940 The Proud Valley Small Role Uncredited
1940 The Thief of Bagdad Urchin Uncredited [20]
1943 Rhythm Serenade Soldier Uncredited
1946 The Magic Bow Audience Member Uncredited
1948 Anna Karenina Small Role Uncredited [20]
1948 The Red Shoes Audience Member Uncredited
1949 Train of Events Fireman [20]
1950 The Woman with No Name Officer [20]
1951 Pool of London Harry [20]
1951 The Galloping Major Reporter Uncredited [20]
1952 The Sound Barrier Controller Uncredited [20]
1953 Time Bomb Police Sergeant Uncredited [20]
1953 The Fake Boy Student
1953 The Limping Man Cameron [20]
1954 You Know What Sailors Are Embassy Secretary Uncredited [20]
1955 As Long as They're Happy Box Office Manager
1955 Value for Money Robjohns [20]
1956 The Gamma People Howard Meade [20]
1956 The Big Money Receptionist [20]
1957 The Barretts of Wimpole Street Harry Bevan [20]
1957 Brothers in Law Shop Assistant [20]
1957 The Smallest Show on Earth Robin Carter [20]
1957 High Flight Squadron Leader Blake [20]
1957 Les Girls Sir Gerald Wren [20]
1957 Just My Luck Hon. Richard Lumb [20]
1958 I Was Monty's Double Major Tennant [20]
1959 The Navy Lark Lt. Pouter [20]
1959 The Man Who Liked Funerals Simon Hurd [20]
1959 The Angry Hills Ray Taylor [20]
1959 Carry On Nurse Jack Bell [20]
1959 Carry On Teacher Alistair Grigg [20]
1959 The Night We Dropped a Clanger Squadron Leader Thomas
1959 Please Turn Over Dr. Henry Manners [20]
1959 Fernando I: King of Naples Pat
1959 This Other Eden Crispin Brown [20]
1960 Inn for Trouble John Belcher [20]
1960 Carry On Constable PC Tom Potter [20]
1960 Doctor in Love Dr. Tony Burke [20]
1960 Watch Your Stern Lt. Cmdr. Bill Fanshawe
1960 No Kidding David Robinson [20]
1961 A Weekend with Lulu Timothy Gray [20]
1961 Very Important Person Flying Officer Jimmy Cooper DFC [20]
1961 Raising the Wind Mervyn Hughes [20]
1962 Crooks Anonymous Dandy Forsdyke [20]
1962 In the Doghouse Jimmy Fox-Upton [20]
1962 The Longest Day RAF Officer Mac [20]
1962 The Fast Lady Freddie Fox [20]
1964 Father Came Too! Roddy Chipfield [20]
1965 You Must Be Joking! Young Husband [20]
1966 Doctor in Clover Dr. Gaston Grimsdyke [20]
1967 Maroc 7 Raymond Lowe [20]
1970 Some Will, Some Won't Simon Russell [20]
1970 Doctor in Trouble Dr. Tony Burke [20]
1971 The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins Dickie [20]
1973 Not Now, Darling Gilbert Bodley [20]
1974 Don't Just Lie There, Say Something! Sir William Mainwaring-Brown [20]
1975 Spanish Fly Mike Scott [20]
1976 Not Now, Comrade Commander Rimmington [20]
1985 Out of Africa Sir Joseph [20]
1987 Empire of the Sun Maxton [20]
1989 Scandal Lord Astor [20]
1990 Mountains of the Moon Mr. Arundell [20]
1991 King Ralph Gordon Halliwell [20]
1992 Carry On Columbus King Ferdinand [20]
1996 August Professor Alexander Blathwaite [20]
1997 Caught in the Act Sydney Fisher [20]
1997 The Jackal Woolburton [20]
1998 The Orgasm Raygun The Inventor's Voice [20]
2000 Saving Grace Vicar [20]
2001 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Wilson
2001 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone The Sorting Hat Voice
2002 Thunderpants Judge [20]
2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets The Sorting Hat Voice
2003 Collusion Herbert Ames
2004 Millions Leslie Phillips [20]
2004 Churchill: The Hollywood Years Lord W'ruff [20]
2005 Colour Me Kubrick Freddie [20]
2006 Venus Ian
2008 Is There Anybody There? Reg [20]
2011 Late Bloomers Leo
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 The Sorting Hat Voice
2012 After Death Jeremiah Jones

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1948 Morning Departure Stoker Snipe TV film [20]
1951 BBC Sunday Night Theatre Redpenny Episode: "The Doctor's Dilemma"
1952 The Poppenkast Jan Klaassen TV film
1952 My Wife Jacqueline Tom Bridger All 6 episodes [20]
1953 For Better, for Worse Tony TV film
1954 The Vise Hugh Lawrence Episode: "Lucky Man"
1955 The Vise George Episode: "The Better Chance"
1955 The Adventures of Robin Hood Sir William Episode: "Friar Tuck"
1955 The Adventures of Robin Hood Count de Waldern Episode: "Checkmate"
1956 BBC Sunday Night Theatre Willie Ragg Episode: "Mrs. Moonlight"
1956 ITV Television Playhouse Det. Sgt. Bullock Episode: "A Lady Mislaid"
1956 Tracey and Me Wally All 3 episodes
1956 Adventure Theater Jimmy Episode: "The Stranger on the Sea"
1956 The Adventures of Robin Hood Wat Longfellow Episode: "A Village Wooing"
1956 The Errol Flynn Theatre Venning Episode: "The Red Geranium"
1956 Beauty and the Beast Crispin TV film
1957 Wire Service Keynes Episode: "Atom at Spithead"
1957 Hour of Mystery Maurice Mullins Episode: "A Murder Has Been Arranged"
1957 O.S.S. Foxie Episode: "Operation Chopping Block"
1957 ITV Play of the Week Guy Robertson Episode: "A Voice in Vision"
1958 Saturday Playhouse Tom Gregory Episode: "Heroes Don't Care"
1958 Saturday Playhouse Tom D'Arcy MP Episode: "Carry On, Admiral"
1958 The Invisible Man Sparrow Episode: "Blind Justice" [20]
1959 The Vise Benson Episode: "The Girl from Rome"
1960 The Adventures of Robin Hood Herbert Episode: "The Reluctant Rebel"
1963 Comedy Playhouse Mr. Ferris Episode: "Impasse"
1963 Our Man at St. Mark's Reverend Andrew Parker 7 episodes
1965 Comedy Playhouse Kingsley Binns Episode: "The Time and Motion Man"
1965 Armchair Theatre Clive Breeze Episode: "The Gong Game"
1966 ITV Play of the Week Jimmy Broadbent Episode: "The Reluctant Debutante"
1966 Foreign Affairs Dennis Proudfoot All 6 episodes
1967 Blandings Castle Reverend Esmond Gander Episode: "Lord Emsworth and Company for Gertrude"
1968 Armchair Theatre Charlton Episode: "A Very Fine Line"
1969 Theatre Date Victor Cadwallader Episode: "The Man Most Likely to ..."
1969 The Galton & Simpson Comedy Howard Episode: "The Suit"
1970 The Culture Vultures Dr. Michael Cunningham All 5 episodes
1972 Father, Dear Father Basil Episode: "Unaccustomed as I Am"
1973 Casanova '73 Henry Newhouse All 7 episodes [20]
1979 The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe Mr. Tumnus Voice; TV film
1983 Live from Pebble Mill Alan Episode: "Redundant! Or the Wife's Revenge"
1985 Mr. Palfrey of Westminster Rupert Styles Episode: "Return to Sender" [20]
1986 You'll Never See Me Again Det. Supt. Weston TV film
1986 Monte Carlo Baldwin Both 2 episodes
1987 Super Gran P.O.W. Episode: "Supergran and the Birthday Dambuster"
1988 Rumpole of the Bailey Boxey Horne Episode: "Rumpole and Portia" [20]
1989 Summer's Lease William Fosdyke Episode: "Villa to Let"
1990 The Comic Strip Presents... Sir Horace Cutler Episode: "GLC: The Carnage Continues..."
1990 The Comic Strip Presents... Dean Episode: "Oxford"
1990–1991 Chancer James Blake 18 episodes
1990 Who Bombed Birmingham? Lord Chief Justice Lane TV film
1991 Performance Judge Michael Argyle Episode: "The Trials of Oz"
1990 Life After Life Wing Commander Boyle TV pilot [20]
1992 Thacker George Thacker TV film
1992 Boon Alan Steen Episode: "Blackballed"
1993 Lovejoy Major Eddie Turpin Episode: "The Galloping Major"
1993 Screen One Johnny Episode: "Royal Celebration"
1993 Performance Vermandero Episode: "The Changeling"
1994 Bermuda Grace Sir Philip Harding TV film [20]
1994 Honey for Tea Sir Dickie Hobhouse All 7 episodes
1994 The House of Windsor Lord Montague Bermondsey All 6 episodes [20]
1994 Love on a Branch Line Lord Flamborough All 4 episodes [20]
1994 Screen One Viscount Osgood Episode: "Two Golden Balls"
1994 The Ruth Rendell Mysteries Justin Whittaker 3 episodes
1995 Woof! Mr. Hawksmoor Episode: "Dog Latin"
1996 The Canterville Ghost George, Lord Canterville TV film [20]
1996 The Kensington Cat Sir John TV film
1996 The Carousel of Death Sir John TV film
1996 The Blind Sir John TV film
1996 The Bill The Professor Episode: "Cheating"
1996 Tales from the Crypt Mycroft Amberson Episode: "Fatal Caper"
1996 Dennis the Menace Mr. Greenfly Voice; Episode: "Wanted!"
1997 The Pale Horse Lincoln Bradley TV film
1998 Liverpool 1 J Rex Negus Episode: "Paper Trail"
1999 Days Like These Saint Peter Episode: "Grandma's Dead"
1999 Dalziel and Pascoe James Westropp Episode: "Recalled to Life" [20]
2000 Cinderella Felim TV film
2000 Take a Girl Like You Lord Archie Edgerstone Episode: "Part 3"
2000 Aladdin Prince Hugely Suave TV film
2001–2004 Revolver The Safecracker 7 episodes
2001 Sword of Honour Gervase Crouchback TV film
2002 Outside the Rules Hal Porter 2 episodes
2002 Monarch of the Glen Louis Grimshaw Episode: #4.3
2002 Holby City Charles Campbell-Gore Episode: "Sins of the Father"
2003 Midsomer Murders Major Godfrey Teal Episode: "Painted in Blood" [20]
2003 Ghosts of Albion: Legacy Sir Ludlow Swift Voice; Episode: #1.1
2003 Where the Heart Is Ernie Wilcox Episode: "Love Hurts"
2006 Heartbeat Denzil Witty Episode: "Risky Business"
2006 Marple Sir Philip Starke Episode: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"
2006 The Catherine Tate Show Teddy Morris Episode: "Mum, I'm Gay" [20]
2006 Walking with Shadows Mr. Barness TV film
2007 The Last Detective Alistair Robertson Episode: "The Dead Peasants Society"
2008 Harley Street Dudley Grainger Episode: #1.2
2009 Things Talk Grandfather Clock Voice; TV film

Radio[edit]

Other[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Loose Women Interview, 2 July 2010
  2. ^ Moyes, Jonathan (27 June 2007). "Ex-pupil Phillips opens old school". Waltham Forest Guardian. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  3. ^ a b c Sullivan, Chris. "Leslie Phillips". The Chap. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  4. ^ "'Hel-low. Aren't you a gorgeous creature?'". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  5. ^ Walsh, John (20 December 1997). "Oh Leslie, you really are a gorgeous beast". Independent. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Happy 95th Birthday to Leslie Phillips". The Oldie. Archived from the original on 23 April 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "CBE for Carry On actor Phillips". BBC News. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  8. ^ a b "With my reputation?". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2004.
  9. ^ Phillips, Leslie (2006). Hello: The Autobiography. Orion Publishing Group. ISBN 0752868896.
  10. ^ "Tenniel Evens:Taffy Goldstein in 'The Navy Lark'". Independent. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  11. ^ "BAFTA Awards winners and nominees". Bafta.org. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  12. ^ "Back Door Productions". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013.
  13. ^ "Living The Life – Sky Arts". Sky Arts / BSkyB.
  14. ^ a b c Phillips, Lesley (2006). "Hello", The Autobiography. Orion Books Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7528-8178-2.
  15. ^ "Vicki Luke". IMDB.com.
  16. ^ a b "Angela Scoular obituary". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  17. ^ a b "BBC News – Bond actress Angela Scoular died drinking acid cleaner". bbc.co.uk. 20 July 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  18. ^ "Daily Telegraph - Leslie Phillips marries third wife at 89". telegraph.co.uk. 22 December 2013. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  19. ^ "Tottenham Hotspur 3 Swansea City 1: Match Report". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf "Leslie Phillips". BFI. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  21. ^ "Three Men in a boat". BBC Radio 4 Extra. BBC. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  22. ^ "Cartoon capers". BBC. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  23. ^ "Leslie Philips (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved 26 September 2021. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  24. ^ Westbrook, Caroline. "Britain's Got Talent 2016: This might be our favourite ever Ant and Dec impersonation on the show". Metro. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  25. ^ "Virgin Atlantic Airways A340 Safety Video (1996–2004)". Youtube. Retrieved 19 March 2022.

External links[edit]