I am very excited to bring you another Carry On Blogging exclusive. Following on from my interview with Angela Douglas last week, I am thrilled to blog an interview with another legendary actress, the wonderful Valerie Leon.
Valerie Leon appeared in six classic Carry On films. Beginning with small roles in Carry On Up The Khyber and Camping, Valerie gained larger, eye-catching supporting turns in Again Doctor and of course, Carry On Up The Jungle. Returning to the Carry Ons in the 1970s, Valerie starred in Matron as Jane Darling and finally Paula Potter in Carry On Girls. She also appeared in the television Christmas special Carry On Stuffing in 1972.
Away from the Carry Ons, Valerie continues to enjoy a diverse and prolific career in the entertainment industry which has taken in prominent roles in Hammer Horror and James Bond films as well as work alongside the likes of Peter Sellers, Ronnie Corbett and Frankie Howerd.
So without further ado, here is my interview with Valerie:
You are due to premiere your show Forever Carrying On at the Leicester Square Theatre Lounge on 26 June. It would be great to hear how this new venture came about.
I have for sometime been giving illustrated power point presentations about my life and work in small theatres and on cruise ships which is something I love doing. I was preparing a new talk and Robert Ross offered me the chance to try it out under the umbrella of his ‘In conversation with … series’
I would be fascinated to hear how you first became an actress, was it something you always wanted to do?
I was always stage struck and wanted to be an actress . My parents wanted me to have a proper job so I trained as a fashion buyer for Harrods in Knightsbridge to keep them happy but Show Business won out in the end.
I'm sure many Carry On fans also love the Bond films - you worked both Sean Connery and Roger Moore as Bond. What were they like to work with?
I feel lucky to have worked with two Bonds. I have worked with Roger several times and he is so friendly and charming that I have a particular soft spot for him. Sean was more of a perfectionist and most fans look on him as the definitive Bond.
2016 has seen the sad passing of both Ronnie Corbett and Burt Kwouk. Do you have any particular memories of working with Ronnie on No Sex Please We're British or Burt on The Revenge of the Pink Panther?
Working with Ronnie Corbett on No Sex Please We Are British was great fun, I had also worked with him on his television shows . He was not only a supremely talented comedian but also a real human being . I was very fond of him. Burt was also a lovely man and we often used to see each other at various charity events. I was deeply saddened by their deaths.
As you obviously enjoy meeting fans, do you have plans to attend any film conventions in the near future?
All being well I hope to be in Westminster for a Bond convention on September 17th and at the NEC in Birmingham on November 19th.
I recently met fellow Carry On actor Jacki Piper and she was absolutely lovely. Did you enjoy working with Jacki?
Jacki Piper is a dear friend. She is a brilliant comedian and very funny in real life . I always enjoy seeing her. We have sons who are the same age.
I see from IMDB that you have recently completed some new film projects. Can you tell me anything about those?
Recently I made a short film called The Golden Years where I played a kind of Norma Desmond character.
Looking back at your career to date, which role(s) are you most proud of?
I guess I feel proud to be associated with three major British film series that have all become cults: Bond, Hammer and of course The Carry Ons I have been very lucky.
Having achieved so much in your career, are there any acting roles on film, television or stage that would like to tackle?
I would love to play a real villainess but apart from that I am just grateful that I am still getting work.
I understand you released a book about your career some time back. Would you ever consider writing your autobiography?
I have been asked to write my autobiography many times but have always refused I want to keep my life private!
Valerie wanted to share this message with all her fans:
I would like to thank you and any fans for your continued interest in me and wish you all well. And maybe see some of you on Sunday June 26th !!!
All good wishes Valerie Leon.
I would like to thank Valerie for taking the time to answer my questions. It was an absolute pleasure to hear from her and I wish her all the best with her Forever Carrying On event on 26 June. You can find out more about Forever Carrying On with Valerie Leon here.