Did you know that in the Harry Potter universe, there is one character whose voice comes from an inanimate object? The sorting hat, featured in both the books and films, speaks without being alive itself.
The sorting hat is responsible for choosing which of the four Hogwarts houses each student will be sorted into. The available options are Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw.
Leslie Phillips, the British actor who voiced the sorting hat in the film franchise, is actually known for much more than his voice as a sorting hat. He has acted in over 200 film, TV and radio series during his career which spanned 8 decades.
In addition to the sorting hat, he is globally recognized for starring in several of the Carry On films like “Carry On Nurse,” “Carry On Teacher” and “Carry On Constable.” Actor Kenneth Williams was known for his catchphrases in the popular Carry On films: “Ding Dong,” “I say” and “Well, Hello.”
Jonathan Lloyd, Phillips’ agent, has confirmed that Philips died at 98 years old. He was in his home and passed away peacefully in his sleep.
Phillip’s wife, Zara, said, “I’ve lost a wonderful husband and the public has lost a truly great showman.” She continued, “He was quite simply a national treasure. People loved him. He was mobbed everywhere he went. When we married he cheekily introduced me to the Press as royalty, insisting I was the new Zara Phillips and that I was related to the Queen.”
Even though he is mainly remembered for playing the roles of wealthy people, Phillips actually came from a working-class background. It wasn’t until he went to Italia Conti Stage School that he learned how to speak without his accent.
His big break came when he starred in a musical called “Les Girls” alongside Gene Kelly. He had the opportunity to move to Hollywood and pursue a career there, but he turned it down and chose to continue acting in England instead.
Since the announcement of his death, many people have posted tributes to the late actor, including Piers Morgan and Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh.
RIP Leslie Phillips, 98.
Wonderful character & superb comedy actor, best known for his what he called his 'lecherous twit' roles in the Carry On & Doctor In The House films with his catchphrases, 'Ding Dong', 'Well, Hello' and 'I Say..' Sad news. pic.twitter.com/EzzjGstp7U
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 8, 2022
Sorry to hear Leslie Phillips has passed. Always liked his pater and had a few nice exchanges with him on Twitter back in the days when you could do that sort of thing on here. pic.twitter.com/Hs2NSgE118
— Irvine Welsh (@IrvineWelsh) November 8, 2022
The following clip is from the film “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in which Phillips, as the sorting hat, sorts Harry Potter and his classmates into their Hogwarts’ houses.