Peter Sallis, 1921-2017

Peter Sallis, who voiced Wallace in the stop animation Wallace and Gromit animated films and played Norman Clegg in the very long-running BBC comedy series, The Last of the Summer Wine, has died. From the Hollywood Reporter:

Peter Sallis, a much-loved face on British TV and known internationally as the voice of Wallace in the Wallace & Gromit animated films, has died. He was 96.

The actor’s agent announced the news Monday, saying Sallis had died peacefully with his family by his side on June 2.

In the U.K., Sallis was known for decades as the flat-capped and mild-mannered Norman Clegg from the long-running comedy series Last of the Summer Wine. He starred on the show from its very first episode in 1973 right up until its end in 2010, the only actor to appear in all 295 episodes.

But it was his vocal work as Wallace in Nick Park’s award-winning animated films that gave him a global legacy.

The Sun adds a little color to the story of how the first Wallace and Gromit film, “A Grand Day Out” came to be:

In 1983, a student, Park, wrote to Sallis asking him to be the voice of a clay character called Wallace.

The actor agreed to do it in exchange for a £50 fee to his favourite charity.

But it was not until 1989 that the first Wallace and Gromit film, A Grand Day Out, finally reached the screen.

The short film was nominated for an Oscar.

Its follow-ups The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1995) were Oscar winners.

Each of the films won a Bafta.

Wallace and Gromit’s first feature-length movie, The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit, was released in 2005 and became a box office hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

It also earned him the Annie Award for Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production.

I thought that this tweet by Disney cartoonist Louie del Carmen was touching:

3 comments… add one
  • Andy Link

    I love Wallace and Gromit. Sad to see him pass, but 96 is a good, long life.

  • Something else important that I didn’t remark on in the body of the post: by far the most significant and lasting part of his career came after he turned 50. He’d been working as an actor since 1947 (mostly British TV).

  • steve Link

    We too loved Wallace and Gromit. Will lay in some Stinking Bishop to help mourn his passing. (Really, can anyone other than the Brits really do that kind of oddball humor so well?)


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