Valerie Leon

Valerie Leon (born 12 November 1943) is an English actress and model who has had roles in a number of film and television productions, including six of the Carry On film series, appeared as a Bond girl in Never Say Never Again (1983), had parts in high profile films such as The Italian Job (1969), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), The Wild Geese (1978) and Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) and had a starring role in the cult horror film Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971).

Valerie Leon
Valerie leon.png
Born (1943-11-12) 12 November 1943 (age 77)
Hampstead, London, England, UK
Years active1967–present
Spouse(s)Michael Mills (1974–1988, his death)

Leon also appeared in the famous Hai Karate adverts in the 1970s which gained her substantial publicity. She also became globally known as a sex symbol due to her glamorous looks and attractive figure, and was often referred to as the "English Raquel Welch".

Early lifeEdit

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. Leon is the eldest of four children.


Leon's career started as a trainee fashion buyer at Harrods. In April 1965, Leon went to an audition which led to her becoming a chorus girl. Leon appeared in a touring production of The Belle of New York. When the tour in Britain was cancelled after some weeks, Valerie contacted Central Casting and started to work as an extra in movies - her first film was That Riviera Touch for which she was hired as a girl in bikini. The following year, 1966, she appeared with Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London's West End.

Leon appeared in six films of the Carry On series: Carry On Up The Khyber (1968), Carry On Camping (1969), Carry On Again Doctor (1969), Carry On Up the Jungle (1970), Carry On Matron (1972) and Carry On Girls (1973), and has also 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 Wild Geese, 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 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 successful series of commercials for the product.

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.

She has also made appearances on stage in the UK in her reminiscence show, "Up Front with Valerie Leon".

Personal lifeEdit

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;[1]

Appearances in reference worksEdit

  • 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.



Year Title Role Notes
1966 That Riviera Touch Girl in Bikini
1967 Mister Ten Per Cent Girl at Theatre Party
Smashing Time Tove's Secretary
1968 Carry On... Up the Khyber Hospitality Girl
1969 Carry On Camping Miss Dobbin
The Italian Job Royal Lancaster Hotel receptionist
Carry On Again Doctor Deirdre
Zeta One Atropos
1970 Carry On Up the Jungle Leda
This, That and the Other Bath Girl
The Man Who Had Power Over Women Glenda
The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer Tanya
All the Way Up Miss Hardwick
1971 Blood from the Mummy's Tomb Margaret Fuchs / Queen Tera
1972 Carry On Matron Jane Darling
1973 No Sex Please, We're British Susan
Carry On Girls Paula Perkins
1974 Can You Keep It Up for a Week? Miss Hampton
1975 The Ups and Downs of a Handyman Redhead
1976 Queen Kong Queen of the Nabongas
1977 The Spy Who Loved Me Hotel Receptionist
1978 The Wild Geese Girl Dealer
Revenge of the Pink Panther Tanya
1983 Never Say Never Again Lady in Bahamas
2006 Gas Hooker / Dentist Receptionist
A Neutral Corner Flo
2015 Golden Years Gilda Parker
2016 Pitfire of Hell UFO Spotter
2020 Jeepers Creepers Fantasy Lover voice


Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Saint Therese Episode: "To Kill a Saint"
1967 The Baron Film Actress Episode: "Countdown"
1968 If There Weren't Any Blacks You'd
Have to Invent Them
Senior Nurse
1968 The Avengers Betty Episode: "Whoever Shot Poor George
Oblique Stroke XR40?"
1969 Galton and Simpson Comedy Girl Episode: "Friends in High Places"
1969 Hark at Barker Lady on Beach Episode: "Rustless and the Solar System"
1969 Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Kay Episode: "That's How Murder Snowballs"
1970 Up Pompeii! Daili Episode: "The Senator and the Asp"
1971 Misleading Cases Rowena Stuke Episode: "The Sitting Bird"
1971 The Persuaders! Space Queen Episode: "The Long Goodbye"
1972 The Organization Prudence Episode: "The Long Goodbye"
1972 Scoop Miss Barton Episode: "The Stitch Service"
1972 My Wife Next Door Laura Episode: "Dream Girl"
1972 Carry On Christmas Serving Wench
1973 The Tarbuck Follies Various
1973 The Train Now Standing Brenda Episode: "A Night to Remember"
1973 Nobody Is Norman Wisdom Sylvia Episode: #1.6
1973 Bowler Miss Ibbotson Episode: "Bowler's Analysis"
1973 Doctor in Charge Miss Wedderburn Episode: "In Place of Strife"
1974 Special Branch Juanita Wayne Episode: "Sounds Sinister"
1974 The Jimmy Tarbuck Show Various
1975 Space: 1999 Thule Girl Episode: "Death's Other Dominion"
1976 The Goodies The Seductress Episode: "It Might as Well Be String"
1977 Mike Yarwood in Persons Rose Episode: #1.4
1977 The Morecambe & Wise Show Various Episode: "1977 Christmas Show"
1978 Whodunnit? Virginia Episode: "A Dead Cert"
1978 The Kenny Everett Video Cassette Manicurist Episode: "#1.1"
1978 Happy Ever After Fiona Episode: "The More We Are Together"
1978 Rings on Their Fingers Cathie Episode: "Lead Me to the Altar"
1979 Morecombe and Wise at the BBC Various
1979 The Dawson Watch Various Episode: "The Family"
1980 Kelly Monteith Various Episode: #2.3
1982 Strangers Jeanette Episode: "A Swift and Evil Rozzer"
1983 Let There Be Love Yolanda Episode: "Spilling the Beans"
1991 Roy's Raiders Lola Courtney Episode: "#1.4"
2006 Last of the Summer Wine DW Cheetham Episode: "Who's That Merry Man with Billy, Then?"
2007 The Green Green Grass Katia's Mother Episode: "Lust in Translation"


  1. ^ "Official website, including biography and showreel". Valerie Leon. Retrieved 29 December 2016.

External linksEdit