Childhood & Early Life
Rula Lenska was born as Róża Maria Leopoldyna Łubieńska on September 30, 1947, in St Neots, Huntingdonshire, England, to Ludwik Łubieński and Elżbieta Tyszkiewicz. She grew up with two sisters; Anna and Gabriela. Anna was also an actress in the 1950s and 1960s.
Both her parents were members of the Polish nobility, and their families had been honoured with ‘Pomian coat of arms’. Their family had owned a castle in Poland before the outbreak of the Second World War.
Before the Nazi occupation of the country, Rula’s father worked as the personal secretary to the Polish minister of foreign affairs. Following the outbreak of the war and the German occupation of Poland, he served as an adjutant to the exiled Polish prime minister.
Her mother also faced many hardships and fled Poland during the German occupation. Rula and her mother were later captured from Italy before being taken to the concentration camps.
Both her parents moved to England as immigrants in 1946 after they lost everything back in Poland. Rula and her sisters attended Polish day schools and were instructed to talk in Polish at home, which helped them stay connected to their polish roots.
Her father worked as the head of Radio Free Europe in Germany, which was partly funded by the CIA. For the most of her childhood, Rula stayed alone with her mother.
Rula was interested in acting ever since she was a kid. Her first tryst with acting happened during her initial school years when she participated in a few school productions. She continued to perform on stage until she graduated from high school.
Her parents wanted her to go the United States for further studies, but Rula told them that she wanted to become an actress. Her conservative parents considered acting to be an ‘unsuitable’ profession for a person of noble background.
Nevertheless, Rula attended the ‘Webber Douglas Academy’ to train further in acting after finishing her A level from school; and soon after, she started doing theatre.
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Rula Lenska started acting in plays in the late 1960s before starting to audition for roles in films and television shows.
In 1971, she made her television debut with a small role as Josee Erlander in the British television series ‘The Doctors’. She appeared in two episodes of the series. She followed it up with a guest role in one episode of the series ‘Once Upon a Time’.
Over the next few years, she played many small roles in series, such as ‘Special Branch’ and ‘Marked Personal’.
In 1974, Rula made her film debut when she appeared in the World War 2 comedy movie ‘Undercovers Hero’ as a minor character called Louise. In the next year, she was seen in a supporting role in the comedy drama film ‘Alfie Darling’.
She played a small role of Hortense Schneider in the mini-series ‘Edward the King’ in 1975, appearing in a single episode. Over the next few years, she appeared in many small roles in series, such as ‘Red Letter Day’, ‘Space: 1999’ and ‘The Brothers’. She also made minor appearances in films like ‘Royal Flash’ and ‘Confessions of a Pop Performer’.
Rula got her major breakthrough in 1976 when she bagged one of the leading roles in the mini-series ‘Rock Follies’. She played Nancy ‘Q’ de Longchamps on the critically and commercially-acclaimed TV show.
The series ‘Rock Follies’ turned out to be a turning point of her career, as it helped her bagging key roles in films, such as ‘It Could Happen To You’ and ‘The Deadly Females’.
The year 1976 was a significant one for Rula, as it was the period when she landed the first leading role of her career in the film ‘Queen Kong’. The movie, however, received abysmal critical reviews, in addition to being a box office flop.
In 1977, she was seen in the mini-series ‘Rock Follies of ’77’, in which she reprised her role of ‘Q’ from the original show. In the rest of the 1970s, she appeared in many guest roles in series like ‘Private Schulz’, ‘BBC Play of the Month’ and ‘The Cuckoo Waltz’.
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In the 1980s and 1990s, she played many TV and film roles, but none of them were very successful. She was seen in supporting roles in series, such as ‘Cluedo’, ‘Take a Letter Mr. Jones’ and ‘Kappatoo’.
By the time the 2000s arrived, Rula had already become a less-significant actress, and the quality of the roles that she was being offered had also significantly declined. She however appeared in films, such as ‘Jack Says’, ‘Fakers’ and ‘Gypo’.
More recently, she was seen playing one of the leading roles in the popular daily soap ‘Coronation Street’. She has been appearing on the show as Claudia Colby since 2009.
Rula participated in the hit reality TV show ‘Celebrity Big Brother’, UK edition, in 2006. However, her stint on the show was not very long, and she was voted out within two weeks of entering the house. She was the third contestant to be voted out of the show.
Apart from her television and film career, she has also been active on stage. She has appeared in many West End shows and has toured with them around the UK and many other countries.
Some of the most popular shows that Rula was part of included ‘The Vagina Monologues’ and ‘Seven Deadly Sins Four Deadly Sinners’. She was also praised for appearing on stage with ‘London Gay Men’s Chorus’ in 2005.
Family & Personal Life
Rula Lenska has been married twice. She was first wedded to the actor Brian Deacon and later to Dennis Waterman. Both her marriages ended in divorces. She has a daughter called Lara Parker from her first marriage.
She became a subject of controversy when she accused her second husband Dennis Waterman of domestic violence.
In 2009, Rula asked the Polish government to compensate her for the seizure of her family’s estates.
She was apprehended for drunk driving in 2016. At the time of her arrest, her grandson was in the backseat.
While participating in ‘Celebrity Big Brother,’ Rula disclosed that she had practiced ‘Tibetan Buddhism’ for many years, but had turned to ‘Buddhism for common men’ recently.