REAL LIFE

Peter Sallis, voice of Wallace and Gromit, dies aged 96

The legendary comedic actor has passed away.

While actor Peter Sallis was famous as the voice of Wallace in Wallace and Gromit, he also played Norman “Cleggy” Clegg in Last of the Summer Wine from its first episode in 1973 until the series concluded in 2010 and was the only actor to appear in all 295 episodes of the sitcom.

Before that he appeared on the London stage, including a role in Cabaret in West End opposite Judi Dench. He also had a film career which included movies such as The Curse of the Werewolf and Taste the Blood of Dracula. Other television appearances included episodes of Doctor Who and Catweazle. He was also the voice of Rat in The Wind in the Willows.

Peter Sallis passed away aged 96
Peter Sallis during The South Bank Show Awards 2006 – Arrivals at The Savoy in London, Great Britain.

Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park issued a statement following news of his death, describing Sallis as a “unique character”. “I’m so sad, but feel so grateful and privileged to have known and worked with Peter over so many years. He was always my first and only choice for Wallace,” Nick Park said.

Peter Sallis on the set of Last of the Summer Wine
Brian Wilde (Foggy), Peter Sallis (Cleggy) and Bill Owen (Compo) on the set of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’. 27th May 1983.

Sallis retired from acting in 2010 due to partial blindness. When his eyesight first began to fail from macular degeneration he used a talking portable typewriter with an illuminated scanner to enable him to continue to work. He became a patron for the Macular Disease Society. 

His agent, Jonathan Altaras Associates, confirmed he died peacefully with his family by his side. “It is with sadness that we announce that our client Peter Sallis died peacefully, with his family by his side, at Denville Hall on Friday 2 June.”

Last of the Summer wine actor Peter Sallis with his wife Elaine Usher. March 1987.
Last of the Summer wine actor Peter Sallis with his wife Elaine Usher. March 1987.

This article first published on Starts at 60.

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