Born Turanga Leela (Turanga being her last name) to Turanga Morris (father) and Turanga Munda (mother), Leela was given to an Orphanarium (Future Orphanage) as a baby with nothing more than a note and a bracelet written in a language no one could decipher. It is discovered later that her father, who is a linguist, made up the language to make people think she was an alien, instead of a sewer mutant. Constantly ridiculed for her cycloptic demeanor, Leela studied martial arts and learned to become tougher.
Years down the line Turanga Leela works as a Cryogenic Assignment Officer, determining careers for cryogenically frozen people, who have recently been thawed, and installing their career chips into their hands (a notably painful looking process). After a run in with Fry, Leela decides that her life as an Assignment Officer is no longer worth pursuing, so she deserts her job along with her two new companions. With nowhere left to turn, she accompanies Fry to the workplace of his closest living relative, Professor Farnsworth. There, after a daring escape from the police, she and her two new friends became crew of the only ship for Farnsworth's delivery company Planet Express, or PlanEx to any 80's type tycoon figure.
Leela, now a space captain (mostly because she can drive a stick shift) for Planet Express, has gone on many wacky missions, meeting many lovers (ok not so many), and delivered many packages (again, not so many).
Her particular love interest with Fry comes into question quite often as she is indecisive and he is persistent.
New Justice Team
Although primarily a cartoon character, Leela did spend some time as a legitimate superhero. In the Futurama episode "Less Than Hero", a topical cream gives superpowers to a few members of the Planet Express crew. They take advantage of this and form a crime fighting team, known as the New Justice Tea. The team consists of:
- Clobberella (Leela)
- Captain Yesterday (Fry)
- Super King (Bender)
Matt Groening created Leela. He has publicly stated that he made Leela a cyclops deliberately, as a strike against the physically flawless heroines of most science fiction shows. She is named after a piece of music, specifically the French composer Olivier Messiaen's Turangalila Symphonie.
Leela is most known for the TV show Futurama but is in the bongo comic Futurama along with the rest of the Planet Express crew.