Val was born in Western Australia and attended St. Hilda's CEGGS. In the early 1950’s the family relocated to Victoria and Val completed her general education at Melbourne's Westleigh College before going on to RMIT and a Fine Art course.
In 1962 Val married her first husband an army officer, and three children, Cassandra, Joanne and Jason soon followed. Throughout the sixties and early seventies, the family were stationed in Townsville, the UK and Singapore. It was during this period Val became heavily involved in amateur dramatics, directing and acting in a number of productions.
Upon settling back in Australia, Val was overwhelmingly drawn into pursuing a full-time acting career. By this time she was separated from her husband, aged 29 and a single mother of three young children, so entering this particular profession seemed highly unlikely. However, determination and perseverance prevailed, and in a short space of time she began working in Theatre in Education with the Children's Arena Theatre, honing her acting skills and learning about all aspects of her chosen profession. The hard work paid off, and in 1978 Val auditioned for a new TV show set in a women's prison. Although originally sent by her Agent to read for the role of Vera 'Vinegar Tits' Bennett, the casting director had different ideas, and arranged for Val to read for the 'Earth Mother' character ‘Queen Bea’ Smith. The rest, as they say, is history.
Although Val was allowed some freedom to appear in other productions whilst in Prisoner, notably ‘Outbreak Of Love’, a mini series for the ABC, and her first major film role in ‘Kitty And The Bagman’, she decided being pinned down to Bea was too restrictive, and so left Prisoner in 1983. The role of Bea had earned Val the title of one of Australia's leading actors, given her three prestigious Logie awards and boundless experience in her profession. After leaving the show Val returned to her first love, theatre, and appeared in several Australian productions, including ‘Trafford Tanzi’, ‘Farewell Brisbane Ladies’, ‘In Duty Bound’, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, ‘Lie Of The Mind’, ‘The Foreigner’ and ‘A Touch Of Silk’. On screen she appeared in guest roles in shows like ‘Prime Time’, and ‘Flying Doctors’, another film, ‘ I Live With Me Dad’, and her personal favourite, the major role of Bert's mum in the acclaimed mini series ‘A Fortunate Life’.
Along with many other TV appearances, Val was a guest on most of the popular TV chat shows, the peak of which was the ‘Best of Parkinson in Australia’. In 1989 she was invited to visit the UK to undertake a three month personal appearance tour, she stayed 7 years. The demand for her appearances in nightclubs, social clubs and shopping centres was overwhelming, and Val met tens of thousands of delighted Prisoner fans and was in huge demand on the chat show circuit, appearing with Richard Madeley & Judy Finnegan on ‘This Morning’, ‘Wogan’, ‘Jonathon Ross’, ‘James Whale’, and ‘Derek Jamieson’, to name a few. While in the UK Val was able to pursue her dream of acting on the British stage, and appeared in productions of ‘Steel Magnolias’, ‘Driving Miss Daisy’, ‘Summer of the Seventeenth Doll’, ‘The Life of Beatrix Potter’, ‘Lady Chatterley's Lover’, ‘Chicago’, ‘When We Are Married’, ‘Anyone For Murder’, ‘The Wizard Of Oz’, ‘Aladdin’ and a highly acclaimed tour of the Stephen King thriller, ‘Misery’. She also directed productions of ‘Last of the Red Hot Lovers’, and ‘French Paste’.
Despite the UK work situation being good to Val, she missed her family and was anxious to return to Australia in order to be a part of her grandchildren’s lives.
By clicking this CV link you can to see an overview of my professional history.