Leslie Phillips

Last updated on the 28 March 2024 by Evandrus

Leslie Phillips headshot
Mini Biography

Born: 20 April 1924, Tottenham, Middlesex, England. 

Leslie Phillips was an English actor who achieved fame in the 1950s with his smooth, upper-class comic roles and his catchphrases “Ding dong” and “Hello”. 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, he took on more dramatic parts, such as a BAFTA nominated role in Venus (2006) and the voice of the Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter films.

Leslie Phillips was the third child of a factory worker and a dressmaker. His father died when he was 11 and he hoped to support his family by acting. He attended the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, where he learned to lose his cockney accent and adopt a more refined one. He made his stage debut in 1937 as a wolf in Peter Pan at the London Palladium and his first film appearance in 1938 in Lassie from Lancashire.

During the Second World War, Phillips served in the Royal Artillery and the Durham Light Infantry and entertained the troops with his impersonations. After the war, he resumed his acting career and became a popular radio performer. He also starred in several West End plays, such as The Man Most Likely To…, which he wrote, produced and directed. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1998, playing Falstaff in Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2.

Leslie Phillips was married three times and had four children. His first wife was Penelope Bartley, whom he married in 1948 and divorced in 1965. His second wife was Angela Scoular, an actress who appeared in two James Bond films. They married in 1982 and remained together until her death by suicide in 2011. His third wife was Zara Carr, a social worker whom he married in 2013.

Phillips died on 7 November 2022, aged 98, after a short illness. He was widely regarded as one of the most versatile and enduring actors of his generation.


Suggested viewing


The Fast Lady (1962)

The Fast Lady

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 6.1

A timid cyclist buys a vintage Bentley to woo a tycoon’s daughter who loves sports cars. He attempts to learn to drive with the help of a friend, but faces many mishaps and challenges. He also bets with the tycoon that he can drive the car, leading to a hilarious finale.

Top cast: Stanley Baxter, Julie Christie, James Robertson Justice, Leslie Phillips, Kathleen Harrison, Eric Barker, Fred Emney, Graham Stark.

Father Came Too! (1964)

Father Came Too! poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 6.1

A newly married couple escape to a fixer-upper cottage, hoping for independence from the overbearing father. Their dreams are dashed when the very renovations they attempt expose the house’s disrepair, forcing them to begrudgingly accept the father’s help and face the comedic chaos that ensues.

Top cast:  Leslie Phillips, Stanley Baxter, Sally Smith, Eric Barker, Kenneth Cope, Terry Scott, Ronnie Barker, James Robertson, Justice, Hugh Lloyd.

Venus (2006)

Venus poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.1

An aging actor falls for his friend’s young niece, who is rebellious and uninterested. He tries to impress her with his charm and culture, but also faces his own mortality and loneliness. They develop a complex bond that changes both of their lives.

Top cast: Peter O’Toole, Leslie Phillips, Jodie Whittaker, Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Griffiths, Frances de la Tour, Philip Fox, Lolita Chakrabarti.

Please Turn Over (1959)

Please Turn Over poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 6.3

A suburban town is scandalised when a teenager writes a racy novel based on the locals. Her parents and their friends try to stop the book from being published, but end up in more trouble. The novel becomes a bestseller and a movie, much to their dismay.

Top cast: Ted Ray, Jean Kent, Leslie Phillips, Joan Sims, Julia Lockwood, Tim Seely, Dilys Laye, Lionel Jeffries, June Jago.

Crooks Anonymous (1962)

Crooks Anonymous poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 6.2

A kleptomaniac joins a therapy group to quit crime and marry his girlfriend. He faces many temptations and tests, but finally reforms. However, he and his mentors succumb to a huge heist and have to return the money before getting caught.

Top cast: Leslie Phillips, Stanley Baxter, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Julie Christie, James Robertson Justice, Michael Medwin, Pauline Jameson, Robertson Hare, Raymond Huntley.

Doctor in Clover (1966)

Doctor in Clover poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 5.7

A fired doctor enrolls in a refresher course with his old rival, who wants him to be a surgeon. He also romances the nurses and the matron, while scheming for a senior post. He faces many comic troubles and learns to love a young physiotherapist.

Top cast: Leslie Phillips, James Robertson Justice, Shirley Anne Field, John Fraser, Joan Sims, Arthur Haynes, Fenella Fielding, Jeremy Lloyd, Noel Purcell, Terry Scott, Elizabeth Ercy, Alfie Bass.

Full filmography (@Wikipedia)


Leslie Phillips Gallery


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