name = Rula Lenska
birthname = Countess Roza-Marie Leopoldyna Lubienska
birthdate = birth date and age|1947|9|30|df=y
St Neots, Cambridgeshire, England
Brian Deacon, Dennis Waterman
notable role =
Rula Lenska (born Countess Roza-Marie Leopoldyna Lubienska on
30 September 1947) is an English-born actress of Polish extraction who is best known for her television work and for her marriage to Dennis Waterman.
Countess Roza-Marie Lubienska was born in
St Neots, Cambridgeshire, England. Her father, Maj. Count Ludwik Maria Lubienski, had led Radio Free Europein Polandand 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, Gabriela ("Gaba") and Anna, an actress who appeared in a few films in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Her big break was as "Little Ladies"' band member, "Q", in the British TV series "
Rock Follies" (1976) and its sequel "Rock Follies of '77" the following year.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, she became famous in the
United Statesand Canada as well for her Alberto VO5hair products commercials that began with a closeup of her stating: "I'm Rula Lenska". People assumed this was a product endorsement by a celebritywhose name the advertisers expected them to know, but it later was revealed that this was a marketing ploy. It worked, and thus in the United States she became famous for pretending to be famous. Most people in the U.S. were not aware that she had an acting career in the United Kingdom, and believed she was just a model.
At any rate, the 'discovery' that she was nobody famous in the U.S. led to the eventual demise of her commercial 'starring roles.'
Film, TV and radio
She has appeared in television series such as "Special Branch", "Minder", "Boon", "
The Detectives", " Footballers' Wives", " To the Manor Born", " One Foot in the Grave", "Casualty", "", " Return of the Saint"," Robin Of Sherwood", the Doctor Whoserial" Resurrection of the Daleks", "Doctors" 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
She starred with the late
John Inmanin the short-lived (six episodes were screened) 1981 series " Take a Letter, Mr. Jones",with Lenska as an executive and Inman as her secretary. She played the Lintilla clones in the original 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 4in May 2005. She has presented travel programmes for the BBCand has recorded many audiobooks.
In the 2005 film "Gypo", which was the first UK feature film to be made under
Dogmerules, she plays a Roma refugee from the Czech Republicliving on a caravan site in Margate.
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 long-running touring play " Seven Deadly Sins Four Deadly Sinners" produced by Marc Sinden.
In December 2005, she appeared on stage with the
London Gay Men's Chorusfor their Christmas Show, "Make the Yuletide Gay". She sang and danced while also hosting the show at Symphony Hall in Birmingham, the ( [http://www.brighton-dome.org.uk/venues/Concert_Hall.asp] ) Dome Concert Hall in Brighton and the Barbican Centre in London.
At the equivalent show in December 2006, comedienne
Sandi Toksvigcorrupted the lyrics of a song to suggest Lenska had a Christmas job in Debenhams.
In 2007 she is to tour alongside
Marti Webband Sheila Fergusonin a new musical about menopausecalled "Hot Flush".
Celebrity Big Brother
Her work on tour with the London Gay Men's Chorus is assumed to have prompted her participation Fact|date=February 2007 in the UK version of "Celebrity Big Brother" in January 2006. Her reason for accepting the invitation to go on the show was "I'm a crazy Polish countess who likes a challenge".
During the show, she declared that she had been a “
Tibetan Buddhist” for many years but had been practising “Buddhism for the common man”, which has no hierarchical structure ( Nichiren Daishonin), for two years.
13 January 2006, with fellow housemate, renegade British MP George Galloway, she attracted the attention of the media by indulging in a role-play task set by Big Brother, in which Galloway, as a cat, pretended to lick milk from her cupped hands, and Lenska stroked his ears and moustache. This incident has actually benefited Rula. After her departure from the Big Brother house she was offered a five figure deal to promote a famous cat food brand. The commercials are yet to be broadcast. On another occasion during her time in the BB house, when accidentally locked in the toilet, singer Pete Burnsquipped, "Oh dear, what can the matter be, clapped out actress stuck in the lavatory."
Lenska was voted out of the show on
20 January 2006, the third housemate of the series to be evicted, after Jodie Marshand Faria Alam.
23 January, three days after her eviction, she gave an interview to UK radio station BBC Radio 5 Liveberating Pete Burnsfor his attitude and unfriendliness towards her. She also expressed disgust at Burns's wearing of a monkey fur coat. The "cat" incident with Galloway was highlighted, but Lenska insisted that there was nothing "untoward" about it, and laughed off any suggestion that she was romantically interested in the controversial MP.
Her chosen charities were Wildlife Line ( [http://www.wildlifeline.org] ) and Children In Crisis ( [http://www.childrenincrisis.org.uk] ).
She has been married twice:
actor Brian Deacon( 4 June 1977– 1987), with whom she had one daughter, Lara Deacon.
actor Dennis Waterman( 3 January 1987– 31 March 1998)
Her marriage to Waterman was famously stormy. They met on the set of "Minder" in 1982. They divorced amid reports of his violence and heavy drinking. Incidentally, Waterman's daughter
Hannah Waterman, starred in the soap " EastEnders" at the same time Lenska made her guest appearances there.
She is a blood donor and also an ardent
conservationist, and has travelled widely raising awareness about the world's dwindling wildlife.
In an interview with "
The Independent", she described herself as "passionate, romantic and slightly eccentric". She is a heavy smoker and also practices yoga. She can fly a Hot Air Balloonand has made TV documentaries about ballooning
She was educated at the Ursuline Convent in Kent.
* [http://www.therockfollies.co.uk/rula.html Rula on Q] - An interview on Rockfollies.co.uk
* [http://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/SWTrains/Emotion/CelebrityInterview/_RulaLenskaP3.htm E-Motion Magazine] - Interview with Lenska
* [http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,14173,1686303,00.html "Celebrity Big Brother"] — transcript of "cat" incident with Galloway
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