When most people hear her name, they associate Leah Remini with the intimidating, tough-"tawking" yet lovable wife on King Of Queens, former co-host of The Talk and Scientologist "troublemaker" but the truth is there is much more to this gal than meets the eye. She has been in the biz since the 80s and has been in more shows than you can probably count. Moderate Leah fans know about her role on season three of Saved By The Bell as Stacey Carosi, the Daddy's girl from back East with the special snobby, sarcastic flair like only Leah can portray. But only true Leah fans know about her voice over role as Carbine in Biker Mice From Mars and her role in the 1995 comedy, First Time Out as well as her time on the short-lived sitcom, Fired Up from 1997 to 1998. The funny thing is that for almost all of Leah's roles, she has played characters with very similar personalities to her own style. But that doesn't mean that she's not a talented actress because she hasn't played a wide variety of characters. All of Leah's roles have their own unique twist that perfectly and realistically flow with the scenario her character is in while at the same time somehow managing to be all Leah. She's opinionated, unapologetic and hilarious and as if those qualities aren't enough, we've gotten Carried away with these fifteen hot photos of Leah's younger days that we found just for you.
15 Smokin' Hot
Smoking is bad for your health but Leah exudes the very essence of cool in this themed photo. With a cue stick in hand, a frosty Heineken waiting nearby on a paper napkin and an unlit cigarette hanging from her mouth, Leah looks every part of the smokin' badass pool shark. Some of Leah's characters have had a little hustler in them so we don't find it very hard to believe that Leah would play the part of a pool hustler and with her pretty looks, she would undoubtedly have poor saps lined up around the corner just to take a chance to have the wise-cracking, unashamed Leah beat them mercilessly and laugh all the way to the bank with their money. If only it were a real show!
14 Uncaged Talent
In 1988, Leah got her start on an appearance of a sitcom called Head Of The Class about a carefree teacher instilling life values into the young minds of his class full of different personalities, gifted students. Leah fit right in with the smart-alecky crowd by playing a student for just one episode alongside the likes of Robin Givens. She worked her magic and did such an A+ job that the following year in 1989, the phone calls to her agent started pouring in and her career began blossoming. Leah got where she is today by using her natural talent combined with the skills she's carefully acquired over the years and always, above all else, being one hundred percent herself.
13 Queen Of Queens
So the show was called King of Queens but it was clear who wore the pants in that relationship. Similarly, it was Leah who also won fans over quickly with her witty comebacks and sassy attitude. The part was almost given to Megan Mullally who turned down the role to play another sassy character, the liquor-loving Karen on Will and Grace. But we think that things happen for a reason as ball-busting Leah was born to play the role of ball-busting Carrie like no one else. Kevin James and Leah Remini are known to still be very close and she keeps in touch often with her other co-stars as well. The show was a hit, by and large, thanks to the natural chemistry that Leah and Kevin were able to cook up together as Carrie and Doug, the modern (and very funny) Honeymooners.
12 Bronzed Beauty
Leah's got the stuff as proven in this pic which was taken for a photo shoot for Stuff magazine in 2002. Like many other female celebrities, Leah is naturally very pretty but unlike the traditional starlet's journey starting out, Leah did not rely on photo shoots like this rare one to get her name out there. Leah played the Hollywood game the old-fashioned way by marketing her quick wit, razor-sharp tongue and sarcasm for days to get the parts that she was a natural for. No gimmicks, no tricks. Just good ol' Leah and her ability to morph completely into the character she portrays. This photo shows a more feminine side of Leah but usually, she is dressed in business casual attire with a smirk that says she's got your number.
11 Mean-Spirited Or Misunderstood?
Some critics of Leah's work say that she is too mean, especially on King of Queens as her character, Carrie constantly puts Kevin James' character, Doug down, most notably for his weight. Haters of the show claimed that Leah's real personality put negative pressure on her fictional character. It's true that Carrie could be a pistol when dealing with anyone from the paperboy to Doug's friends and even her own father, Arthur (played by Jerry Stiller) who was not immune to Carrie's verbal beatings. But that was the character and let's face it, would the show have been as hilarious or successful as it was if Carrie was a smiley Suzy Homemaker? Definitely not. We don't think that Leah is mean-spirited at all, just misunderstood by these folks. She's just not afraid to call them like she sees them and there's nothing wrong with that.
10 Rising To Fame In The Colorful 80s
Check out that big hair! Leah did the 80's proud with her heightened locks and neon Local Motion tank top for a Teen Beat photo shoot soon after appearing on Who's The Boss? playing the part of Sam Micelli's best friend, Charlie Briscoe from The Bronx who had a rough home life, raising herself thanks to an uncaring and neglectful single mother. Leah's time on the popular 80's show was well spent. She starred in a storyline regarding her mother who didn't want her back putting Charlie into a potential homeless situation and that led to the show's spin-off, Living Dolls and her career continued to soar from there. Leah played the role of Charlie perfectly, a tomboy with a pretty face who didn't put up with anyone's guff. Doesn't seem like too much of a stretch for Leah, does it? Ay oh, oh ay!
9 Baring Her True Feelings
Leah strikes us as the kind of gal who has always been a straight shooter but especially after her split from Scientology, Leah became extremely open. With her spot on The Talk (which she gave up the chance to have her very own talk show for) and her reality show, It's All Relative, Leah has had the platforms needed to talk about the issues in her life that have affected her and telling her story has helped others to see that it's possible to push past previous drama and accomplish their dreams in life. Leah is certainly an example of that. Hands down, Leah was the most outspoken co-host on the first season of The Talk, speaking openly about issues that matter and her opinions. That's just the kind of person Leah is.
8 Making A Sassy Splash On Saved By The Bell
Leah's most well-known guest role, for 80s and 90s kids at least, was that of Stacey Carosi, the only daughter and Daddy's girl to Leon Carosi, owner of the Malibu Sands Beach Club where all of the Saved By The Bell kids worked one summer except for the wealthy Lisa Turtle, of course. Leon, the head honcho, left his darling girl in charge of the crew and Stacey came riding in on a major power trip which naturally clashed with Zack Morris' anti-authority/class clown/troublemaker vibe. After a heated love/hate rollercoaster, they finally admitted their true feelings to each other. Spoiler alert: the on-screen romance didn't last. But luckily for Leah, this recurring seasonal character was just the kind of boost her career needed.
7 Cheers To A Living Doll!
Leah is posed for a promotional shoot for the Who's The Boss? spin-off, Living Dolls as Charlie Briscoe, the model and in the other photo as Carla Tortelli's eighteen-year-old daughter, Serafina on Cheers who breezes into the bar with much of her mother's attitude, announces she's knocked up and gettin' hitched, too. Leah was perfectly cast as Carla's (Rhea Perlman) daughter on the episodes "Unplanned Parenthood" and "Loathe and Marriage." She won the roles over another relatively unknown actress at the time. Leah said that when Jennifer Aniston found out that Leah got the part of Serafina Tortelli, she was happy for her. Years later, Leah cried for days when she found out she didn't get chosen as Monica for the sitcom, Friends especially when she learned what a hit it was going to be. But then the role of Carrie Heffernan came along so it all worked out in the end. Cheers, Leah!
6 Mouth Of A Construction Worker In The Body Of A Model
Of his co-star and good friend, Leah, Kevin James has said, "Leah has the mouth of a construction worker in the body of a model." Pretty much sums it up. And if anyone should know, it's the person Leah worked closely with for nine straight years. Recently, the two have teamed back up together for Kevin's new show, Kevin Can Wait on CBS. Leah replaced Erinn Hayes who played Kevin's wife on the first season which Leah appeared on the last episode of as Vanessa Cellucci, a former cop. When the show's directors saw the chemistry that the former TV couple still had, they decided to kill off Hayes' character and bring Leah back indefinitely. King of Queens fans everywhere could not have been happier for this reunion. It truly is a reunion since Gary Valentine, Kevin's real brother, who played Doug's cousin, Danny Heffernan on King of Queens is on Kevin Can Wait, too.
5 Casually Cute In Queens
They say that opposites attract. In the case of Doug and Carrie Heffernan, that statement is proof positive. The TV couple was as different as it gets in terms of personality, temperament and physical appearance. Doug was the funny life of the party and Carrie was more reserved especially around people she didn't know well. Carrie could get heated quickly while Doug was more laid back. Physically, they were night and day as well. Carrie was svelte and trim often wearing clothing that showed her figure off while Doug, well... many of the storylines and jokes in the show revolved around Carrie pushing Doug to get on a diet and calling him names like Fat Sajak, Rub-A-Dub Chub, Blob Barker and Captain Sandwich. Ah yes, love was in the air!
4 Classy And Sassy
Leah met the man that would be her husband in a Cuban restaurant in 1996. Puerto Rican actor Angelo Pagán couldn't have known that he would one day marry the already famous actress or that they would share a daughter, Sofia together. Angelo was actually in a relationship at the time he met Leah. But once they met, the flames didn't stop burning and soon the two were together. Angelo guest-starred on five different episodes of his wife's famous show, playing five different characters. One notable character was Rico in the episode called "Do Rico." Doug tells Carrie about his new co-worker at IPS and imitates Rico's Puerto Rican accent. Carrie ends up liking Doug's imitation of Rico a bit too much for Doug's liking and he quickly becomes jealous. The scene was all the more hilarious for those fans who knew that Rico was played by Leah's actual husband.
3 Lady In Red
When Leah was featured on the first season of The Talk, she was loud, boisterous, full of energy and everyone else on the show seemed rather blah in comparison thanks to Leah's naturally gregarious personality. In many episodes, Leah can be seen stealing the show and talking openly and frankly about her s*x life, other people's s*x lives and other topics that other co-hosts might try to shy away from. This obviously didn't flow with the other women on the show and the producers didn't seem to be too amused but fans loved Leah for her candid manner. Almost any interview that Leah has given will show her answering all questions directly, no beating around the bush with this girl. Many times, you'll also catch her busting the chops of the interviewer. That's just Leah - love her or leave her.
2 Wild Girl
Leah was "let go" from her spot as co-host of The Talk in 2011 along with fellow co-host, Holly Robinson Peete in 2011. Leah was gracious while being interviewed by Howard Stern and stated that she harbors no ill will for anyone from the show. "I have a big mouth and I have a temper," Leah said. "That’s not good for executives. The point is, most smart people in this business shut their mouth. If I wanted to be in this kind of show I need to shut my mouth and do what my bosses tell me to do. I can’t do that. I was like, ‘Oh this is how you have to do, you have to be nice to people, you have to go by their schedule, you have to talk about what they want to talk about, I didn’t want to do that. I would do another talk show if it was the way that I wanted to do it. Like, you can’t tell me what we’re talking about and I want to hear real stuff.” Keep keepin' it real, Leah!
1 A Stand-Up Stunner
Before she was famous, Leah was just a teen from Brooklyn who got involved with Scientology through her mother at a young age. In fact, Leah's first "gig" was an advertisement for Scientology in which a smiling young Leah appeared next to an e-meter, a Hubbard electro-psychometer which "auditors" use to discover "hidden crimes" committed by fellow Scientologists. But Leah's feelings towards the controversial religion began to sour over the years and in 2013, she severed ties with Scientology for good. Further cementing the split, she published a memoir called Troublemaker that spilled all the messy details and secrets that the bigwigs over at the Church of Scientology of Los Angeles never wanted to see the light of day. It must have taken a lot of courage for Leah to stand up after all of these years and face the scrutiny that she has but she has never backed down and continues to stand strong.