Peter Sallis, OBE, British television icon and voice of Wallace from the internationally beloved Aardman Animation production Wallace and Gromit, has passed away. Sallis died peacefully with his family on June 2nd, his agent only announcing the news today; he lived to be ninety-six years old.
For those not acquainted with the property, Nick Park’s Wallace and Gromit is roughly as venerated and beloved in the U.K. as Sesame Street is in the U.S. Sallis was known in the U.K. for decades as Norman “Cleggy” Clegg, from the BBC long-running comedy series Last of the Summer Wine (1973-2010), about the misadventures of three young-at-heart, mischievous old men. However, it was his voice work as the eccentric, cheese-loving inventor Wallace in Nick Park’s award-winning stop-motion animated Wallace and Gromit films that gave him global recognition.
Sallis voiced Wallace in the BAFTA-winning A Grand Day Out (1989), and Oscar-winning The Wrong Trousers (1993), A Close Shave (1995) and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005). He won the Annie Award for “Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production” for Were-Rabbit, with his final Wallace and Gromit film being A Matter of Loaf and Death in 2008. Sallis took great pleasure and pride in voicing Wallace and had stated that “to be still be involved in a project like this at my age is heartwarming.” Here’s hoping the Big Cheese in the sky will roll out the red carpet for Peter Sallis — he deserves it.