Rula Lenska

Last updated 09 January 2020

Rula Lenska
(this image appears for illustrative purposes only and no attempt is made to supersede any copyright attributed to it)

Countess Roza-Marie Leopoldyna Lubienska

Born: Tuesday 30th September 1947 (age: 76)


Rula Lenska is anEnglish actress.

Best known for her work in the United Kingdom, she is remembered in theUnited States for a television advert that presented her as a celebrity, even though she was not widely known in the US at the time the advert was produced

She was born in St NeotsCambridgeshireEngland. Her father, Major Count Ludwik Maria Lubienski, had led Radio Free Europe in Poland and was the chief of the Polish military mission in Gibraltar during World War II. Her mother was the former Countess Elzbieta Tyszkiewicz. She has two sisters: Anna, an actress who appeared in a few films in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and Gabriela. Lenska was educated at the Ursuline College in Westgate-on-Sea.

Her big break was as Little Ladies' band member, "Q," in the British TV series Rock Follies (1976) and its sequel Rock Follies of '77the following year. By this time, she had renounced her title as a Polish countess; she has said of the decision, "In England it doesn'tcount, if you'll excuse the pun."

Rock Follies was not widely seen in North America, but in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Lenska became famous in the United Statesand Canada for her Alberto VO5 hair products commercials. The commercial began with a closeup of her stating, "I'm Rula Lenska." People assumed this was a product endorsement by a celebrity whose name the advertisers expected them to know´┐Żalthough, in North America, Lenska was virtually unknown prior to the VO5 ad campaign. 

In a Tonight Show monologue that aired after the commercials started running, Johnny Carson asked "Who the hell is Rula Lenska?" and began using Lenska's name as a running joke on his show. 

She has appeared in television series such as Special BranchMinderBoonThe DetectivesFootballers' WivesTo the Manor Born,One Foot in the GraveCasualtySpace: 1999Return of the SaintRobin Of Sherwood, the Doctor Who serial Resurrection of the DaleksDoctors and EastEnders, in which she played Frank Butcher's girlfriend, Krystal, in a Costa del Sol special (2002). She played Mrs Peacock in series 2 of Cluedo.

In 1976 she starred opposite Alan Price in Alfie Darling, appearing naked in several scenes. She also starred with the late John Inman in the short-lived (six episodes were screened) 1981 series Take a Letter, Mr. Jones, with Lenska as an executive and Inman as her secretary.

In 2003, she starred in the black comedy Paradise Grove alongside Ron Moody. She played Lintilla and her clones in the second Radioseries of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and can also be heard in the third, fourth and fifth radio series which debuted on BBC Radio 4 in May 2005. She has presented travel programmes for the BBC and has recorded many audiobooks.

In the 2005 film Gypo, which was the first UK feature film to be made under Dogme rules, she plays a Roma refugee from the Czech Republic living on a caravan site in Margate.

Lenska also starred in "Garvey" in the independent British film Jack Says. opposite her one-time EastEnders co-star Mike Reid, which was released on dvd on 22 September 2008. She lent her voice to the upcoming animation film Agent Crush.

In 2009, Lenska joined the cast of Coronation Street as new character Claudia Colby, an old friend of Audrey Roberts. In May 2011, Lenska quit the role in order to join the Calendar Girls tour in August 2011.

She has toured extensively both in the UK and abroad and appeared in several West End shows (most recently in The Vagina Monologues and 84 Charing Cross Road) and in many pantomimes and is a regular performer (and part of the original cast) of the touring play Seven Deadly Sins Four Deadly Sinners.

In December 2005, she appeared on stage with the London Gay Men's Chorus for their Christmas Show, Make the Yuletide Gay. She sang and danced while also hosting the show at Symphony Hall in Birmingham, the Dome Concert Hall in Brighton and the Barbican Centre in London.

At the equivalent show in December 2006, comedienne Sandi Toksvig corrupted the lyrics of a song to suggest Lenska had a Christmas job in Debenhams. In 2007 she was to tour alongside Marti Webb and Sheila Ferguson in a new musical about menopause called Hot Flush.

Biography from the Wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA