Whipping up support for talk with Valerie

HAMMER horror, Carry On films and James Bond '“ three great British cults with huge enduring popularity. Valerie Leon is an actress fortunate enough to have played a part in all three of them, as she will explain in a talk at Gravetye Manor in East Grinstead on Saturday.

It's been a fabulous career which has seen her work with a string of comedy legends, including Ronnie Barker, Frankie Howerd, Charlie Drake, Ronnie Corbett, Peter Sellers, Peter Cook, Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Les Dawson, Brian Rix, Norman Wisdom and Morecambe and Wise.

She will be drawing on those memories for her East Grinstead talk, which she will illustrate with clips and photographs.

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Born in London, Valerie was training as a fashion buyer with Harrods when she came across an advertisement in The Stage newspaper for chorus singers in a touring production of The Belle Of New York.

"I had always been stage struck and decided to audition. That was the end of the respectable career my parents had always had in mind for me!"

Sadly, the tour folded after six weeks and she started doing crowd work in films until finally breaking into the West End in Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand, at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London, in 1966."

For full feature and more arts and entertainments see West Sussex Gazette March 18