English actor Peter Sallis, best known for voicing Wallace in the “Wallace & Gromit” films, died Friday in a London nursing home. He was 96.
“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, June 2,” his agents, Jonathan Altaras Associates, said in a statement to the Guardian.
Prior to his retirement from acting in 2010, Sallis notably starred in Britain’s longest-running sitcom as Norman Clegg in “Last of the Summer Wine.” Sallis was the only actor to appear in all 295 episodes during the show’s 1973-2010 run.
He also provided the voice of Rat in the “Wind and the Willows” TV series and appeared on dozens of other TV shows including “Dr. Who.”
His vocal work in the Academy Award-winning claymation series helped him also become known outside of the United Kingdom. He portrayed the eccentric cheese-loving inventor in a number of shorts and feature including “The Wrong Trousers,” “A Close Shave,” and “A Grand Day Out.”
Sallis last voiced the character in Nick Park’s 2008 “Wallace and Gromit” short, “A Matter of Loaf and Death.” He won an Annie Award for Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production in the Oscar-winning 2005 film “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.”
It wasn’t until 1983, when Sallis was in his 60s, that he joined the “Wallace and Gromit” project.
“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 heartwarming. To have a legacy like this is very comforting. I am very lucky to have been involved,” he was quoted as saying in The Guardian.