Carol, trained by Rada, was dubbed the seventh python after appearing in 30 of the 45 episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, between 1969 and 1974, as well as their four films.
Once voted the third most beautiful entertainer of 1972, former Playboy bunny Carol has starred in several other movies and TV shows.
The divorced woman celebrated her milestone birthday on Thursday and was also featured in Channel 4’s First Dates series the same week.
Afterwards she said: “I don’t look or feel like I’m 80 – or act like I am.
“But I worry about becoming very forgetful. That’s a concern for me. So I’ve decided to retire.
“I haven’t had an agent in a while, but I was planning on getting a new one to get me working as a character actor and take me beyond the image of Python. But recently I was like, ‘Do I have the energy?’ and, because I’m starting to lose my memory, I also had to think, ‘If I’m given a big script, could I really learn it?’ I decided that maybe I couldn’t. I can’t take that risk when I get so forgetful.
“I thought to myself, ‘I’ve had a good run, a good career and I’ve made a name for myself. Let’s bow now while people have good memories of my work. It’s time to stop this’ .”
Carol last starred a week before lockdown in the independent film Alice, Through The Looking – which also stars Vanessa Redgrave and Steven Berkoff.
She had planned to celebrate her 80th birthday with a big party near her home in West Sussex but decided to postpone it to June due to the pandemic.
On her birthday, she was taken to lunch by a platonic friend named Roger, “whom I’m so lucky to have in my life.”
She adds: “On the first few dates I was introduced to a lovely man named Keith. We’ve stayed in touch but there’s not much hope for romance as he lives in Nottingham which is a long way away. from me and we didn’t have much in common. He admitted he had never watched Monty Python.
The only member of the Python team with whom Carol remains in contact is the famous travel writer and presenter Sir Michael Palin, 78.
She admits: “I wouldn’t expect to hear from John (Cleese) or Eric (Idle) because they’re in America, but I might hear from Michael.
“I always call Michael when I remember his birthday.”
When asked what her dream birthday present would be, Carol replies, “To get my memory back.”