Peter Sallis, famous for voicing Wallace in Aardman's beloved Wallace and Gromit, has died at the age of 96.
The veteran British actor died "peacefully with his family by his side" on Friday, his agent announced on Monday. He had been living at Denville Hall, a London care home for actors.
Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park said he felt "so grateful and privileged to have known and worked with Peter over so many years. He was always my first and only choice for Wallace," in a statement that hailed Sallis "for his unique gift and humour."
He added: "Working with Peter was always a delight and I will miss his wry, unpredictable humour and silliness — that started the moment he greeted you at the door, and didn't stop when the mic was switched off."
After serving in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, London-born Sallis studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and began a career on both the stage and screen in the 1950s.
Sallis became a regular face seen in British films and TV shows, but truly became a household name for playing the mild-mannered Norman Clegg on the long-running British sitcom Last of the Summer Wine, which ran from 1973 to 2010.
He would go on to even greater international fame after Park asked him to voice the bumbling, cheese-loving inventor Wallace in what would become a series of award-winning, stop-motion Wallace and Gromit films created by Aardman Animations.
He contributed to hit productions including A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers, A Close Shave and the feature-length movie The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
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. https://t.co/nhgoGwea4Z— @edgarwright
RIP Peter Sallis. Thanks for bringing Wallace and Gromit to life. I will always treasure it. pic.twitter.com/WWmzhWaH6C— @Seedy87
RIP Peter Sallis, aka Wallace. May you find all the Wensleydale you could ever want in the next world. 😢 pic.twitter.com/lgYXXP0dRF— @MoreToJack
Sallis published an autobiography entitled Fading into the Limelight in 2006 and, a year later, was awarded the Order of the British Empire.