Valerie Leon (born 12 November 1943) is an English actress who had roles in a number of high-profile British film productions, including the Carry On series.
|Born||12 November 1943|
Hampstead, London, England, UK
|Spouse(s)||Michael Mills (1974–1988, his death)|
Leon's father was a director of a textile company, and her mother, who trained at RADA, ended her acting career to become a full-time mother. Valerie is the eldest of four privately educated children.
Leon's career started as a trainee fashion buyer at Harrods. One day, Leon went to an audition which led her to her become a chorus girl. Leon appeared with Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London's West End.
Leon appeared in several of the Carry On films and has been a Bond girl twice: in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Never Say Never Again (1983). Other film appearances include Revenge of the Pink Panther, The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (as the secretary Tanya), a hotel receptionist in The Italian Job, and a callgirl in No Sex Please, We're British. The 1971 Hammer horror film Blood from the Mummy's Tomb gave Leon a dual starring role, as a reincarnated Egyptian queen.
On television, Leon is probably best remembered for her part as the tall buxom woman driven wild by a small, puny man wearing Hai Karate aftershave, in a highly successful series of commercials for the product.
Numerous other TV credits include The Saint, Randall and Hopkirk, Up Pompeii!, The Avengers, Space: 1999, The Persuaders, Last of the Summer Wine, The Goodies episode "It Might as Well Be String", and the 1968 version of Johnny Speight's provocative comedy-drama If There Weren’t Any Blacks You’d Have To Invent Them as a nurse.
Recently, she has been making appearances on stage in the UK in her reminiscence show called "Up Front with Valerie Leon".
Leon was married to the television comedy producer Michael Mills from 1974 until his death in 1988. The marriage produced two children: a boy, Leon, born in 1975 and a girl, Merope, born in 1977; Merope is a journalist on The Guardian newspaper and currently West Coast of America editor.
Appearances in reference works
- Paul, Louis (2008). "Valerie Leon". Tales From the Cult Film Trenches; Interviews with 36 Actors from Horror, Science Fiction and Exploitation Cinema. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. pp. 164–171. ISBN 978-0-7864-2994-3.
- Smashing Time (1967) as Tove's Secretary
- Carry On... Up the Khyber (1968) as Hospitality Girl (uncredited)
- Carry On Camping (1969) as Miss Dobbin
- The Italian Job (1969) as Royal Lancaster Hotel receptionist (uncredited)
- Zeta One (1969) as Atropos
- Carry On Again Doctor (1969) as Deirdre Filkington-Battermore
- Carry On Up the Jungle (1970) as Leda, Leader of the Lubbie Dubbies
- This, That and the Other (1969) as Bath Girl
- The Man Who Had Power Over Women (1970) as Glenda
- The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (1970) as Tanya
- All the Way Up (1970) as Miss Hardwick
- Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971) as Margaret Fuchs / Queen Tera
- Carry On Matron (1972) as Jane Darling
- No Sex Please, We're British (1973) as Susan
- Carry On Girls (1973) as Patricia Potter / Paula Perkins (dubbed by June Whitfield)
- Can You Keep It Up for a Week? (1974) as Miss Hampton
- The Ups and Downs of a Handyman (1976) as Redhead
- Queen Kong (1976) as Queen of the Nabongas
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) as Hotel Receptionist
- The Wild Geese (1978) as 1st Girl Dealer
- Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) as Tanya
- Strangers (1982) (TV Series) as Jeanette
- Never Say Never Again (1983) as Lady in Bahamas
- Carry On Laughing's Christmas Classics (1983) as Various characters
- A Neutral Corner (2006) as Flo
- The Green Green Grass (2007) (TV Series) as Kat's Mother
- Pitfire of Hell (2016)
- Golden Years (2016) as Gilda
- For The Love of Ella (2017) as Tara
- "Official website, including biography and showreel". Valerie Leon. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- Mills, Merope (19 February 2001). "That's my girl". The Guardian.
- "Merope Mills". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
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