Date of Birth : Apr 20th 1924
BAFTA-nominated English actor, best known for his comedy roles.
Phillips made his first film appearances as a child in the 1930s. He is the only actor still alive who performed at Pinewood Studios during the week it opened in 1936. He also understudied for Binkie Beaumont and H.M Tennent in the West End. In 1938, 14-year-old Leslie Phillips appeared with Graeme Muir in the West End play, “Dear Octopus” where Muir was the juvenile lead. 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’.
Due to his acquired upper-crust accent, Phillips was selected for officer training at Catterick and duly commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery in 1943. He transferred to the Durham Light Infantry in January 1944 but was later declared unfit for service after undergoing what appears to be have been a mental and emotional breakdown (he was treated at a psychiatric hospital).
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’. However after becoming familiar on radio with 250 episodes of The Navy Lark, his career in film and television took off. It was during the 1950s that he became famous for playing amusing English stereotypes. His suave, seductive voice is his trademark as well as his catchphrases, “I say, Ding Dong” (originally the catchphrase of Phillips’ character Jack Bell in Carry On Nurse), “Hello” and “Lumme!”, which were partly, if not wholly, based on those of fellow cad actor Terry-Thomas. His greatest claim to fame is the “Doctor” series of movies, which he inherited from Dirk Bogarde. He appeared in three of the early Carry On films series (Carry On Nurse, Carry On Teacher and Carry On Constable) and the 1990s revival Carry On Columbus, as well as several films in the ‘Doctor’ series. After his marriage to Angela Scoular in 1982 Phillips decide to move away from the kind of lecherous twits with suave chat-up lines which had characterised much of his previous work.