Val Lehman Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (5)  | Personal Quotes (10)

Overview (3)

Born in Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Birth NameValerie Kathleen Willis
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Val Lehman began her acting career with a brief stint at the National Theatre Drama School, and then wrote, directed and performed a revue whilst studying towards an Arts Degree at The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Put her acting ambitions on hold after her marriage to raise three children though during this period worked extensively with amateur acting groups in various parts of Australia, in Singapore and in England, UK. Turned professional, working initially as an extra in television productions, and spent five years touring with the Children's Arena Theatre, playing in 'Dimboola' and several other productions. Next won several small featured roles in television series such as rural serial Bellbird (1967) and Tandarra (1976), in TV-movie Outbreak of Love (1981), and mini-series Power Without Glory (1976). In 1978 Val Lehman scored the plumb role of tough "inmate boss" Bea Smith in a new sixteen part women's prison television serial called Prisoner (1979). The series became an instant hit and the sixteen episodes were soon extended and the series became an indefinitely running serial. Bea Smith quickly emerged as the central character in most of the storylines and Lehman became one of the most popular Television actresses of the period. During the four and a half years she played the role Val Lehman won three Logies as Most Popular and Best Lead Actress in a television series. Left the series in 1983 and appeared in play Trafford Tanzi, and television mini-series A Fortunate Life (1986). The Producers of "Prisoner" asked Lehman to return to the series on three occasions though she always refused, saying she had taken the character as far as it could go. Several other television appearances followed, however, like many soap stars before her, Val Lehman found that the expected meaty roles and long-running fame failed to materialise, with Bea Smith remaining the highlight of her career. During the 1990s Lehman spent several years living in England, where, as had been the case in Australia, she was unable to find much work as she was so recognisable through her work in "Prisoner". In the late 1990s returned to Australia where she had guest roles in television programmes Blue Heelers (1994) and Good Guys Bad Guys (1997).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: R Lindsay

Family (1)

Spouse Charles Collins (10 June 1989 - 2005)  (divorced)
? (1962 - ?)  (divorced)  (3 children)
Frank Lehman (1962 - ?)  (3 children)

Trivia (5)

Made her UK TV debut on 29th June 1989 when she was interviewed on This Morning: Episode dated 29 June 1989 (1989).
She has 2 daughters, Cassandra Lehman & Joanne Lehman, both of them had guest appearances in 'Prisoner' (1979).

Val also has one Son - Jason Lehman.
Recently moved from Ballarat to Queensland [July 2008]
Runs an antiques store outside Melbourne.
Ranked 5th out of 25 in Prisoner (1979) appearances, Lehman appeared in 376 episodes.

Personal Quotes (10)

What people don't understand is, when you've had a life and worked as hard as I have in some shows, you miss it terribly. I'm afraid I tend to find myself sitting and waiting for my life to start again, a lot.
The green room and dressing room would flood when they did shower scenes and when they eventually gave us a green room upstairs, even that was extremely basic. Stars in Australia are treated like any other worker. Why should you expect more? But believe me, they were making a lot of money out of us.
our previous accomplishments are not considered much, they don't take them into consideration when they're casting. We don't act like stars because we don't get treated like stars. [Mind you] that can be a good thing..
It works in our favour overseas. We don't expect it because we're not used to it.
We were put in a tunnel, no money was spent on looking after us personally, or our comfort. We had to ask to make cups of tea and stuff. Mind you, working in the theatre in England if you were touring was similar.
It's amazing it's lasted this long, but I'm obviously not popular enough to get invited to the Logies this year, which I thought was a bit rude - I've got three of them! They're too long ago I think that's the problem.
My record was actually shooting 21 scenes in one day. When I tell English and American actresses that, they don't believe me... We were producing 96 hours a year, nobody does that anymore.
But there's not the work. I had far more work when I lived in England than I've had here. I came back from England and had no work for 10 years. I came back to nothing.
I'd rather be working than anything else, and I'm still capable.
I don't think anyone realises these days how many hours we worked. I was contracted to 12 hours a day, but I know for a fact I did more scenes than anyone else.

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