The universal reaction to Leslie Phillips’s surprise third marriage at the age of 89 to a woman more than 30 years his junior was — to borrow one of the veteran actor’s most famous comic catchphrases — ding dong!
Best known as the consummate, plummy-voiced roué of Carry On film fame, it seemed somehow fitting that Leslie Phillips CBE should approach his 90th birthday with that familiar twinkle in his eye and a considerably younger bride on his arm.
And last Friday he did not disappoint, giving a cheerful thumbs-up after marrying 50-something social worker Zara Carr at Westminster Register Office, followed by a blessing and reception at St Mark’s church near the actor’s grand Victorian home in West London.
So, with the ink barely dry on the marriage certificate, off I go to say, well, hell-oo to Leslie Phillips and his delightful new bride, who seems to be taking the consternation over their rather large age difference in her stride
Looking very dapper in dark navy cords teamed with a cashmere sweater in fetching duck-egg blue, Leslie certainly looks and sounds very contented to be a married man again as he leads the way into his shabbily elegant home. ‘The wedding was fantastic!’ says Leslie in his unmistakable, velvety tones as he lowers himself into an antique chair. ‘It was the most wonderful day of my life.
‘Zara is an incredible girl. She’s lovely. What else can I say? I just love this bird here,’ he says reaching for Zara’s hand, whose ring finger sports an enormous square cut diamond.
‘I’ve always been one of life’s natural optimists, despite some ghastly things happening to me over the years.’