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).
|Born||12 November 1943|
Hampstead, London, England, UK
|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".
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".
Appearances in reference worksEdit
|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|
|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|
|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
|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"|
- "Official website, including biography and showreel". Valerie Leon. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
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