Potters Bar remembers Peter Sallis

PUBLISHED: 16:19 06 June 2017 | UPDATED: 17:06 06 June 2017

Peter Sallis on his 87th birthday in 2008,  pictured by Joel Ryan, PRESS ASSOCIATION

Peter Sallis on his 87th birthday in 2008, pictured by Joel Ryan, PRESS ASSOCIATION

He was loved by millions for his gentle and understated humour, but Peter Sallis, who died on Monday at 96, was also a former resident of Potters Bar.

Facebook users have been recording their recollections of the actor on the Potters Bar Memories page, several convinced that he lived in Hawkshead Road, Little Heath in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

One user wrote: “I used to be a Darkes Lane Woolies Saturday girl and one day, was carrying a very large tin of paint in front of me, when I turned around and literally bumped straight into him, banging him hard in the stomach with the tin of paint!

“That would have been 1972 I believe. I apologised immediately and he was fine about it.”

Peter Sallis’ most famous roles were Norman Clegg in the BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine, and as the voice of Gromit in the massively popular Wallace and Gromit animated films.

He trained as an actor after spending World War Two in the RAF, and worked alongside Ralph Richardson and Celia Johnson in a 1950s stage production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters.

Other celebrated co-stars from his early stage days included Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, and Vivien Leigh.

He saw himself as a serious actor, but was often chosen for comic roles.

He appeared in several films, but did not find widespread fame until Last of the Summer Wine, which ran for 31 series between 1973 and 2010.

Peter Sallis was the longest serving cast member, and spoke the final line.

While a student animator, Nick Park based his eccentric inventor Gromit on his own father, and described Peter Sallis as “My first and only choice” to voice the part.

The first film A Grand Day Out was nominated for an Oscar in 1989, but the series did not triumph at the Academy Awards until The Wrong Trousers in 1993.

Peter Sallis married in 1957, but divorced before he came to Little Heath. His son Crispian became a successful film set designer.

According to The Guardian, his last home was in central London.

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