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 in order to become a full-time mother. She 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.
She also appeared in The Saint, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Up Pompeii!, The Avengers, Space: 1999, The Persuaders, and in The Goodies comedy episode "It Might as Well Be String".
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.
I am thought to be exiled gentry, a vagabond, a scandalous rogue, a troubadour, armchair tactician, amateur grifter, self taught mechanic, would be author, adventurer, rogue scholar, traveler of strange lands, and an all round near do well.