Valerie Leon goes from Hai Karate to kung phew!

By Candice Krieger, October 28, 2010

It was in the sixties that Valerie Leon burst on the scene as the buxom amazon whose head was turned by a hapless martial artist irresistible in Hai Karate aftershave.

She went on to find fame as a Bond babe, a Carry On cutie and the hottest thing in Hammer Horror.

But when her agent sent her to audition for another advert 35 years on, she found herself once again getting sniffy.

But this time it wasn't a karate KO she was avoiding - but BO! She tells People: "It was for Right Guard deodorant. We filmed it in Cape Town. I played a mother meeting her daughter's fiancée and didn't get a good first impression."

The story ended happily when the lad returned freshly scented. And in a scene reminiscent of the 1969 ads, she welcomed him to the family by clutching him to her famous chest.

Typical typecasting? "The team were a mix of Germans and South Africans. Besides, many were too young to remember the Hai Karate girl," she said.

Thankfully, anyone else who needs reminding can see and hear her re-live some of the most iconic moments of Seventies cinema when she revives her popular one-woman show at the Jermyn Street Theatre in London on Sunday Nov 7. The title: Up Front.

What was that about typecasting?

    Last updated: 2:37pm, October 28 2010