Born in London, England, she moved to the United States with her mother and stepfather at an early age and was raised in San Antonio, Texas, and later Pasadena, California. She returned to London with her family in 1960. She is a former Miss California Navy and appeared as Miss Teen Queen in MAD Magazine at age 15. She also studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Her mother, Pat, appeared in Monty Python on several occasions, once as a mental patient with an axe embedded in her head.
Aside from her multiple performances on Monty Python's Flying Circus, she also appeared with Spike Milligan and on The Two Ronnies, The Persuaders!, and other TV shows and films. She appeared in all four seasons of the series and all four of the Monty Python movies, including the dual roles of Zoot and Dingo, of the maidens in the Castle Anthrax, in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Privately called "Carol Cleavage" by the other Pythons, she played an archetypal blonde bombshell. Stage directions for her first sketch described her as "a blonde buxom wench in the full bloom of womanhood." She called herself the "glamour stooge".
In 1995, Cleveland had a small cameo in a Fist of Fun sketch. This BBC comedy show featured Stewart Lee and Richard Herring.
She now performs in a one-woman show, Carol Cleveland Reveals All.
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