Peter Sallis, the English actor who voiced Wallace in Wallace and Gromit, passed away in his sleep. He was 96. In a statement, his agent wrote, “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 2 June.”
While best known for his work in Nick Park’s animated series about a cheese-loving inventor and his loyal dog, including the Academy Award-winning Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (1993’s The Wrong Trousers and 1995’s A Close Shave also took home the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film), Sallis was also recognizable to British audiences as Norman “Cleggy” Clegg in BBC’s Last of the Summer Wine, which aired from 1973-2010. He was the only actor to appear in all 295 episodes.
Sallis was honored by writer and director Edgar Wright, who tweeted, “Farewell Peter Sallis, warm and funny in Last of the Summer Wine and just pure magic as the voice of Wallis in the Aardman animations,” and Nick Park who wrote, “I’m so sad, but feel so grateful and privileged to have known and worked with Peter over so many years,” among many others.
“It is pleasing knowing millions are going to see your work and enjoy it,” Sallis once said about his participation in the beloved Wallace and Gromit. “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.”