Leslie Phillips, actor and voice of the Sorting Hat in ‘Harry Potter,’ dies at 98
Los Angeles Times
The actor, who became one of the world’s most popular and versatile children’s TV characters in “The Sorting Hat,” died of cancer at 98.
Leslie Phillips, who as an adult was seen playing Quidditch champion Harry Potter in the Harry Potter movie series, died of complications from complications from lymphoma, his daughter, Stephanie Phillips, said Monday. He was 98 years old.
Phillips will be remembered as one of the greatest voices in children’s television and one of the greatest actors of his time.
Phillips was born on June 19, 1923 in the town of Stuttgart, Germany, to a Jewish family of musicians who were forced to flee the Nazis during the 1930s.
The family settled in Cincinnati, where Phillips, who was known as a child prodigy, started performing on streetcars at age 9.
In 1940, Phillips met and befriended cartoonist/animator Jim Davis, and the pair formed the Jim Davis and Associates Animation Studio out of Phillips’ kitchen. They made “Little Nemo” and “The Land of Oz” together and produced animated movies for Disney.
Phillips, who was a big fan of Charlie Chaplin, was soon starring in his own silent film, “Two Sides Two Faces” with Davis in 1950. The film, however, was not a success and was subsequently shelved. He would go on to star in “Little Nemo in Slumberland,” starring Chaplin as a child who has accidentally gone into a magical world and discovers he must fulfill a role in the new world order.
“He was one of the best,” Davis said. “He was a child prodigy and he was the type of child prodigy that many of us have lost.”
Phillips went on to star as a juvenile delinquent in the 1950 film, “Gilligan’s Island,” and, in 1963, made a bid for stardom in the role of the popular cowboy, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. That film was largely forgotten, but the role led to bigger and better roles for Phillips in television’s “The Raza,” “The New Scoobies,” “The Banana Splits” and “The Sorting Hat.”
Phillips also found time to teach at Ohio State University and performed on the CBS