A Chilean actress and model, Leonor Varela is most popular for her role in the television film Cleopatra and a film titled Blade II, for her role as the vampire princess. She was born in Santiago, Chile, to Leonor Pilme-Keller, who was a massage therapist and Francisco Varela Garcia, who was a biologist and cognitive neuroscientist. Her mother belonged to a family of French, Hungarian and Syrian heritage. She has a sister and two brothers. Her family had to flee from Chile when a military regime took over the place. Although her parents returned to Chile in the 1980s, she remained in Paris where she was studying acting at Niels Arestrup School, L'École du Passage, and Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris. She made her debut into films with a role in Pony Trek in 1995.
She then appeared in Shooting Stars in 1997. However, she started gaining fame only after her performance in
, a television soap opera. She had appeared in several televisions series before she landed the lead role in the television film Cleopatra, in 1999. In 2001, she acted in The Traitor of Panama and Texas Rangers, followed by Blade II in 2002. She was also starring in a recurring role in Arrested Development, a Fox Television series. Her role in Innocent Voices, a 2004 film, got her nominated for the Ariel Award in 2005 for Best Actress. Consequently, she appeared in Americano and Goal II - Living the dream, as well as in television series Dallas in 2012. Leonor got engaged to her Cleopatra co-star Billy Zane.
She had her first son with
in 2012 and had a daughter recently in February 2015. She is a vegetarian and a marine life activist, with special concern for the welfare of the whales.