Wallace And Gromit star Peter Sallis dies
Peter Sallis, who was the voice of Wallace in the beloved clay animation Wallace And Gromit, has died aged 96.
The actor also starred in the long-running sitcom Last Of The Summer Wine, playing Norman Clegg between 1973 and 2010.
Sallis died peacefully with his family by his side on 2 June, his agents announced.
His role as Wallace, a loveable inventor with a penchant for Wensleydale cheese and a canine companion called Gromit, made his voice famous around the world.
He first became involved with the show after its creator Nick Park wrote to Sallis when he was a student in 1983 – and asked him to voice the clay character.
Sallis agreed, on the condition that £50 was donated to his favourite charity.
The cartoon went on to scoop several Academy Awards – with Sallis speaking of his delight at becoming an unlikely Hollywood star and enjoying success so late on in his career.
Sallis said: “It is pleasing knowing millions are going to see your work and enjoy it.
“To still be involved in a project like this at my age is heart-warming.
“To have a legacy like this is very comforting. I am very lucky to have been involved.”
However, the actor insisted he was pleased that his voice rather than his face had become internationally recognisable, adding: “No one stops me when I speak or when they see me in the street. That’s the way I like it.”
After leaving school, Sallis had gone to follow his father into the world of banking – but when World War Two began, he signed up for the RAF and became a radio instructor.
He caught the acting bug in 1943 after being asked to star in a performance of Hay Fever, and went on to win a scholarship at RADA in 1946.
Sallis’ first TV role came a year later – and during the 1950s and 1960s, he gained minor roles in episodes of Doctor Who, The Avengers and Z Cars.