Val Lehman

Recent Role:

Star on Smitten


3/15/1943, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

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  • Credits
  • Biography
  • Val was born in Western Australia, where she attended St Hilda's Catholic School. However, in the 1950s her family relocated to Victoria and after completing her high school education, Val went on to study arts at Melbourne's RMIT. There she began to hon her acting skills and throughout the 1960s and 1970s became heavily involved in acting and directing - mostly in amatuer productions. In 1978, Val auditioned for the role of Vera 'Vinegar Tits' Bennett in the up and coming new women's prison drama 'Prisoner'. However, once the casting director saw Val's audition, he quickly changed his mind - instead slotting her into the part of Bea Smith - Val's most famous and recognizable role to date. After earning three Logie awards for her portrayal of Bea Smith, Val left 'Prisoner' in 1983 to pursue other career options. Since 'Prisoner', Val has appeared in many stage plays, including 'A Street Car Named Desire', 'Touch Of Silk' and 'Cake' and directed several others, mostly in the United Kingdom. Her most recognizable directing role was 'French Paste' for the Coliseum Theatre, Oldham. Since returning to Australia, Val guest roles in 'Blue Heelers', 'Good Guys Bad Guys, 'Something In The Air', 'MDA' a major role in the ABC telemovie 'Secret Bridesmaid’s Business'.moreless



    Birth Place:

    Perth, Western Australia, Australia

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (5)

    • Val: (on preparing for her role on “Prisoner“) A whole lot of use went out to a prison, and although we were not allowed to talk to the prisoners themselves, we met the people who ran the place and had a look around. Amazingly, they claimed a lot of the things we know happen in women’s prisons, like the pecking order, didn’t exist! They tried to make it look very tame, but we knew better.

    • Val: (on the lack of good TV roles for women) There are very few worth-while characters for actresses, especially in Australia. The great thing about Prisoner is that it allowed actresses who would otherwise be playing small roles to be lead actors and really get into meaty roles.

    • Val: (revealing she still keeps in contact with some of her co-stars in “Prisoner”) I’m still great friends with Carole Skinner who played Nola McKenzie, Colette Mann who played Doreen Burns, Patsy King who played Erica Davidson and Carol Burns who played Frankie Doyle. I’m living far off in Ballarat and haven’t done much acting since I was In Secret Bridesmaid’s Business in 2002. But I often catch up with the girls for dinner when I’m in Melbourne. When we all get together, it’s just like old times.

    • Val Lehman: (on the 'Prisoner' 'Where are they now?' reunion) We just fell back into the same camaraderie that existed while we were in the show.

    • Val Lehman: (on Australian acting opportuntities) My career has completely withered, I'm afraid, as it does if you happen to be an actor of my age and gender in this country.

    Trivia (2)

    • Val's height is 5'6" (1.68m).

    • Val married an English man, who eventually stole her money from her. She is now divorced from him.