8 MAY 2008

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Screen veteran Leslie Phillips, famed for his distinctive catchphrases "Hello" and "Ding dong", was at Buckingham Palace this week to receive his CBE from the Queen. The medal, granted in the New Year's honours list, recognises the remarkable contribution to the British film industry made by the Carry On star, who by his own reckoning has notched up over 120 films.

"It's wonderful. I've been very lucky to have two awards. I've done a long term," said Leslie, who was made an OBE in 1998.

The 84-year-old actor first appeared before an audience aged ten when he took to the stage after the death of his father meant he and his siblings had to find work to support the family. And after 70 years in the trade, the silver-haired star says he has no intention of slowing down.

"Who knows, I might be the first 100-year-old actor," he said at this week's ceremony.

Born in North London, patrician-toned Leslie spoke with a cockney accent until he took elocution lessons at the Italia Conti Stage School. After serving in the infantry during WWII he returned to acting, starring in several Fifties shows before finding widespread fame in the Carry On films.

In the Eighties he joining the Royal Shakespeare Company and went on to appear in classics such as The Merry Wives Of Windsor. "Half way through my life I thought, 'I must let people know I can make them cry as well as make them laugh'," said the thesp, who has also appeared in several Hollywood films, including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
"It's wonderful. I've been very lucky to have two awards," said the 84-year-old British actor as he picked up his medal at Buckingham Palace this week. The screen veteran was awarded an OBE in 1998 Photo: © Getty ImagesClick on photo to enlarge

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