|Born||(1943-11-12) 12 November 1943
Hampstead, London, England, UK
|Spouse(s)||Michael Mills (1974–1988, his death)|
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.
Her 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.
After leaving school, she became a trainee fashion buyer at Harrods, before playing truant one day to go to an audition which led to her becoming a chorus girl, and then appearing 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 supporting 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, alongside fellow Carry On actress Margaret Nolan. The 1971 Hammer horror film Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb offered Leon a rare lead role, as a reincarnated Egyptian queen.
On television, Leon is probably best remembered for her part as a tall buxom woman driven wild by a small and puny man wearing Hai Karate aftershave, in a series of commercials for the product.
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