VALERIE KAIRYS VENET AKA VALERIE KAIRYS
Valerie Kairys Venet aka Valerie Kairys is best known for her 1960’s appearances in the NBC TV program "The Monkees" and the ABC-TV show "Batman". Then known as Valerie Kairys, she was discovered by Michael McLean, Casting Director at 20th Century Fox Film and Television.
Michael – who had recently worked with Director Richard Wise to cast The Sound of Music--discovered the seventeen year old Valerie at the reception desk of Ripps Opticians in Los Angeles, asking her, “Have you ever thought about being in the movies?” Her first appearances were in two 1964 films, "Your Cheatin Heart-The Hank Williams Story", directed by Gene Nelson and starring George Hamilton and Susan Oliver, followed by work on "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte", directed and produced by Robert Aldrich, and starring Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead and Mary Astor . Next came the 1966 release “Three on a Couch”, directed by and starring Jerry Lewis with Janet Leigh, Mary Ann Mobley and Leslie Parrish.
Her breakthrough was NBC-TV’s The Monkees. “I got a call from a casting director for an audition for a pilot at Columbia, Stage 7, where I was interviewed by Bert Schneider,” Valerie says. The show was cast and the pilot picked up, and with Valerie involved from the very first episode, "The Monkees", produced by Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, began airing on September 12, 1966.
Starting with cameo roles, she quickly moved to guest star and co-star appearances. Valerie appears in a role created for her by writer Dave Evans in “Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers,” directed by James Frawley. In “Monkees a la Mode,” Valerie co-stars as Toby Willis, in an episode written by Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso, directed by Alex Singer.
"I was very young during the days of the Monkees, and Mike, Micky, Peter and Davy were my big brothers" Valerie says. "One day, they all drove to my apartment in the valley in the Monkeemobile to surprise me. They were so good to me, and to this day I love them-they remain what they always have been, my four big brothers".
Her appearances continued at a steady pace throughout the show’s run. According to Monkees Manager and long time re-issue producer and expert, Andrew Sandoval, Valerie appeared in almost as many episodes as the Monkees themselves.
Valerie concurrently appeared as a special guest in two episodes in ABC-TV’s classic series, Batman, in the role of “Kitty”, Catwoman’s hench-kitten. She appeared alongside Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar in the episodes, “The Sandman Cometh” and “The Catwoman Goeth” which originally aired in December 1966. “The Catwoman Goeth” featured a cameo appearance by a young James Brolin. The episodes were directed by George Waggner.
As The Monkees series was ending, director Richard Sarafian cast Valerie in 1968’s "Shadow on the Land", alongside Jackie Cooper, John Forsythe and Gene Hackman. The film is noteworthy as the very first network television Movie of the Week. She followed that up with work on 1969’s "Easy Rider" with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, Directed by Dennis Hopper; 1970’s Myra Breckinridge with Raquel Welch, Mae West, John Huston, John Carradine and a then unknown Farrah Fawcett, Directed by Michael Sarne; and 1971’s "Vanishing Point" with Barry Newman and Dean Jagger, once again directed by Richard Sarafian.
Valerie took time away from acting, but kept the creative arts in the family when she married legendary record company executive Nick Venet. Nick's history includes a long stint as A & R Director at Capitol, where he signed the Beach Boys, and a similar position at United Artists Records. Nick produced Lou Rawls, Sam Cooke, Glen Campbell, Bobby Darin, The Beach Boys of course, and a host of others. Valerie met the gifted record producer at a session, and they were married in 1970. " Nick was incredibly smart and creative, and that was the type of person I was drawn to. There were always actors, musicians and artists from all walks of life in Topanga Canyon, where we made our home, so in many ways it was like I never left; I just wasn't on the set every day"
The exception to Valerie’s family break was 1979’s "Like Normal People", a film for television directed by Harvey Hart. Valerie appeared alongside Shaun Cassidy, Linda Purl and James Keach in a moving story about the developmentally disabled.
In recent years, Valerie has resumed her acting career, guest starring in 2013’s "Young Guns" directed by Haran Sivakumar; and 2015’s "The Dazzling Darling Sisters", directed by Brian E Bennett. She had a substantive role in 2016’s "Tourbillon", written and directed by Gene Ivery. Tourbillon was featured at the Aberdeen Film Festival, the Mosiac World Film festival, and Sci-Fi London. Val has some intense scenes with Chris Petrovski, a regular in the cast of CBS-TV's "Madame Secretary." http://tourbillonthemovie.com/
The year 2016 was the 50th anniversary of the Monkees, and the show was celebrated with a beautifully remastered DVD set. Valerie was delighted to be asked to participate in the commentary, with fresh and funny memories that illuminate the making of the ground breaking show. "It was great to see Mike, Micky and Peter as well" Valerie says. "They did a fantastic job on tour, but I never doubted that they would. There is just so much talent among them."
Valerie remains busy in 2017 with stage appearances at events talking about the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 60’s and early 70’s, which she was part of alongside The Monkees and her late husband, Nick.