Born in East Sheen, London, she moved to the United States with her mother and U.S. Air Force stepfather at an early age. She was brought up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Lubbock, Texas; and later Pasadena, California where she attended John Marshall Junior High School and Pasadena High School. She is a former Miss California Navy and appeared as Miss Teen Queen in MAD Magazine at age 15. Carol was Miss Teen in the August 1958 issue of Dig magazine.
A stage actress and model who had appeared as an extra in The Persuaders!, a secretary in The Saint, and other TV shows and films, she started to appear as an extra in BBC comedy productions, including The Two Ronnies, Morecambe and Wise and various vehicles for Spike Milligan.
This brought her to the attention of the production team of Monty Python's Flying Circus. She appeared in 30 of the 45 episodes in the series, plus all four Monty Python movies. Cleveland has contributed on many post-Python projects including the Concert for George and Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy). She's also appeared in many documentaries about the group's history, including Monty Python: Almost the Truth (Lawyers Cut). She most recently reunited with the Pythons in 2014 for their reunion stage show Monty Python Live (mostly).
Cleveland was voted number three in Splendor magazine's "100 Most Beautiful Entertainers" list in 1972.
In 1986, Cleveland played an American television journalist in Only Fools and Horses, in the episode "The Miracle of Peckham"; then in 1995, Cleveland had a small cameo in a sketch within Fist of Fun, a BBC comedy show featuring Stewart Lee and Richard Herring.
Cleveland was married to Peter Brett from 1971 to 1983.
- Strictly for the Birds (1963)
- The Pleasure Girls (1965)
- A Countess from Hong Kong (1967)
- Mister Ten Per Cent (1967)
- The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom (1968)
- The Adding Machine (1969)
- Moon Zero Two (1969)
- And Now for Something Completely Different (1971)
- All I Want Is You... and You... and You... (1974)
- Vampira (1974)
- The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
- The Brute (1977)
- Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
- Funny Money (1982)
- Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983)
- Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy) (2009)
- Biography from Carol Cleveland's official website
- "And now, the Holy Grail for Python fans - the reunion stage show: Thousands - some dressed as their favourite acts - descend on O2 for opening night". dailymail.co.uk. 1 July 2014.
- "Five tuxedo'd old gents and jokes everybody expected. So are the surviving Monty Pythons just flogging a (dead) parrot? QUENTIN LETTS gives his verdict". dailymail.co.uk. 1 July 2014.
- Carol Cleveland's personal website
- Carol Cleveland at the Internet Movie Database
- April 2012 interview Monty Python and the Holy Grail Blu-ray
- June 2014 interview Monty Python Reunion