Peter Sallis was a British actor who was primarily known for his role on the long-running TV series "Last of the Summer Wine" (BBC, 1973-2010), as well as being the voice of Wallace in the "Wallace and Gromit" films. Born in the London suburb of Twickenham, Sallis had a relatively normal English childhood. He never intended on becoming an actor, and just prior to the outbreak of World War II in the late 30s, he was living a comfortable life working in a British bank. That all changed however when England entered the war. Sallis initially enlisted in the Royal Air Force but was deemed unfit to serve due to a birth defect. Instead, he worked as a mechanic for the Air Force during the war. After the war ended, Sallis embarked on a career as a stage actor. He began appearing in plays in the late 40s, and by the 50s and 60s was a regular presence on the London stage. It was also during this time that Sallis began turning his attention to screen acting. Throughout the 1950s Sallis appeared in British films and on television in mostly small parts, but by the mid-1960s the roles were becoming more substantial. In 1967 he nabbed a recurring role on the British sci-fi series "Doctor Who" (BBC, 1963- ), playing a scientist named Penley on six episodes of the series. Then in 1973 he nabbed his breakout part on the British sitcom "Last of the Summer Wine." Sallis played Clegg on the series, which went on to run for an astounding 31 seasons and 295 episodes, with Sallis being the only actor to appear in every single episode. Throughout the 70s and 80s Sallis would additionally appear in various other British TV programs, all while appearing in "Last of the Summer Wine." But in 1989 his luck would change once again when he was cast as the voice of Wallace in the animated short film "A Grand Day Out" (1989). The short film was the first "Wallace and Gromit" movie and was nominated for an Academy Award. Several more "Wallace and Gromit" films would follow over the course of the next several years, including the Oscar-winning 2005 feature "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit." Sallis would go on to voice Wallace in every one of the films released during his lifetime. When "Last of the Summer Wine" ran its final episode in 2010, Sallis was retired from acting, as he was already in his late 80s. After an amazingly prolific acting career that spanned several decades and dozens of roles, Peter Sallis passed away on June 2, 2017 in London. He was 96.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Landed his first film role in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Played Thomas on TV mini-series "The Heir of Skipton"
Played the title role on TV mini-series "The Diary of Samuel Pepys"
Appeared on several episodes of "BBC Sunday-Night Play"
Played Penley on "Doctor Who"
Had breakout role as Norman Clegg on "Last of the Summer Wine"
Appeared as Mr. Bonteen on "The Pallisers"
Voiced Rat in the stop-motion TV version of "The Wind in the Willows"
Reprised role of Norman Clegg on "First of the Summer Wine"
Reprised voice of Rat on "Oh! Mr. Toad"
Voiced the role of Wallace in the first Wallace and Gromit short film "A Grand Day Out"
Voiced the cheese-loving, often oblivious dog owner Wallace on "The Wrong Trousers"
Reprised Wallace role on the Oscar-winning "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit"
Retired from acting by appearing in the final episode of "The Last of the Summer Wine"