Voice of Wallace and Last of the Summer Wine actor Peter Sallis dies at the age of 96

Actor Peter Sallis, the voice of Wallace from the Wallace and Gromit animated films, is pictured with the famous duo after receiving an Hononary Doctorate from the University of Bradford.
Actor Peter Sallis, the voice of Wallace from the Wallace and Gromit animated films, is pictured with the famous duo after receiving an Hononary Doctorate from the University of Bradford.

Last of the Summer Wine actor Peter Sallis, who was also famous as the voice of Wallace in Wallace & Gromit, has died aged 96, his agents have announced.

Jonathan Altaras Associates released a statement on Monday saying that he died at a London retirement home for actors last Friday.

It read: "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."

Mr Sallis became a household name in the UK as mild-mannered Norman Clegg in the comedy Last Of The Summer Wine, Britain's longest-running sitcom.

But his role playing loveable inventor Wallace in Nick Park's animated films made his voice known around the world.

Nick Park has paid tribute to Peter Sallis, describing him as "always my first and only choice for Wallace".

Park, who created the Oscar-winning Wallace & Gromit, said he was "so sad" to hear of Sallis's death.

The 58-year-old animator said he felt grateful and privileged to have known and worked with the actor over so many years.

"He was always my first and only choice for Wallace," he said.

"I knew him, of course, from the very popular, long-running BBC series Last Of The Summer Wine.

"He brought his unique gift and humour to all that he did, and encapsulated the very British art of the droll and understated.

"Working with Peter was always a delight and I will miss his wry, unpredictable humour and silliness - that started the moment he greeted you at the door, and didn't stop when the mic

was switched off.

"He had naturally funny bones and was a great storyteller and raconteur off stage too, and would keep us amused for hours. He could make the simplest incident sound hilarious - just by

the way he said it.

"When I look back I'm so blessed and fortunate that he had the generosity of spirit to help out a poor film school student back in the early 1980s, when we first recorded together, when

neither of us had any idea what Wallace & Gromit might become.