Marc Bolan and Rula Lenska came into the world on exactly the same day. They also have several other connections, discovers Tony Barrell
THE SUNDAY TIMES, 2005
On September 30, 1947, a boy called Mark Feld was born in a hospital in Hackney, east London. Nobody knew it then, but little Mark would grow up, change his name to Marc Bolan and become a rock superstar. And on that very same Thursday, a special girl was born in the town of St Neots, Cambridgeshire. Her name was Rozá Maria Leopoldyna Lubienska – but, like Mark Feld, she would also change her name before finding fame. We know her today as the actress Rula Lenska.
On top of their birth date and self-reinventions, these two attention-seeking Librans have several other similarities. Lenska’s family were Polish aristocrats, and Bolan’s grandfather Henry Feld was of Polish-Russian descent. Bolan was a pioneer of glam rock in the 1970s, and Lenska did her own bit for glamorous rock’n’roll in the same decade by starring in the TV drama Rock Follies, whose music was composed by Andy Mackay of Roxy Music. Bolan sang about hair and was proud of his own long curly locks, and Lenska came to the attention of Americans thanks to her Alberto VO5 hairspray commercials.
Marc Bolan was once impressed by a meeting with a Buddhist mystic, and Rula Lenska became a full-on Buddhist
They have both had associations with large prehistoric animals: Bolan’s band T.Rex began life as Tyrannosaurus Rex, named after the huge carnivorous dinosaur, and Lenska once went on a trip to Nepal to find giant elephants believed to be related to extinct woolly mammoths. And they have both expressed an interest in the same religion. The corkscrew-haired rocker declared himself impressed by a meeting with a Buddhist mystic in the 1960s, while the flame-haired actress has gone further, becoming a full-on Buddhist.
The biggest difference between these two birth-twins concerns longevity. Marc Bolan’s life was tragically cut short when he was killed in a car crash in 1977, at the age of 29. Rula Lenska, on the other hand, has now reached her seventies. She has an impressive list of acting credits, including roles in TV shows such as Minder, Doctor Who, Casualty, EastEnders and Coronation Street, and she has appeared as herself on Celebrity Big Brother. In 1991, in the board-game-based TV drama Cluedo, she played the character Mrs Peacock – which gives us another connection with Marc Bolan, who was often described as a “peacock” by journalists on account of his flamboyant style and flashy clothes. The word “peacock” also crops up more than once in his groovy and colourful lyrics – notably in the songs ‘Frowning Atahuallpa (My Inca Love)’ and ‘Sensation Boulevard’. ♦
© 2018 Tony Barrell