Leslie Easterbrook created Callahan, the tough as nails, over zealous drill instructor in the Police Academy movies. If you missed her in the original movie, you may have seen her in one of the sequels, seductively punching her way from Sergeant to Captain!
Leslie also created long-running characters Devlin Kowalsky, on Ryan's Hope, and Rhonda Lee, on Laverne and Shirley. She has guest starred in over 60 other television shows, including such classics as Matlock, Murder She Wrote, The Dukes of Hazzard, Brothers, Baywatch, and the animated series’, Batman and Superman. Her TV movies include The Song of the Lark, for PBS, A Family Lost, for Lifetime and The Taking of Flight 847, The Uli Derickson Story, for NBC.
She was born in Los Angeles, grew up in Nebraska and received a BFA degree in music at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. She began her show business career in the opera, but she quickly gravitated to theatre, where she has starred in a wide variety of plays and musicals, both on Broadway and in regional theatres all around the country. This past year in LA, Leslie starred in a brand new musical about four sassy seniors. It’s called “Broads, the Musical.” Joe Symon is the composer and lyricist; book by Jennie Fahn. It’s a very funny show, with lots of heart, and is certain to have a bright future.
Leslie considers it an amazing blessing that director, screenwriter and rock legend Rob Zombie cast her as Mother Firefly in box office hit The Devil’s Rejects and, again, as Patty Frost in his first, and very successful, Halloween. His faith in her dark side has opened the door to a delicious array of juicy villains. Not only has she had the opportunity to create some remarkably chilling characters, she has greatly enjoyed meeting and greeting many horror fans over the past few years.
Horror films House, (Betty) with Bill Moseley and Michael Madson, and The Dead Calling, (Marge) with Sid Haig, are both available on DVD. Soon to be released are Rift, (Megan), Mirror Image, ( Phyllis) and The Afflicted, (Maggie). She stars with Kane Hodder in The Afflicted and is a writer, with Jason Stoddard, and producer, with Lee Dashiell and David Hilburn, on the film, as well.
Lest you think Leslie has turned her back on comedy, take a look at the Farrelly brother’s, The Heartbreak Kid, starring Ben Stiller. Although she only has a small part in it, she helped get one of the movie’s biggest laughs. Also, Matt Berman’s and Kevin Farely’s comedy Hollywood and Wine should receive a release date soon. In it, Leslie plays Hattie McDaniels, an aggressive-to-the-max and not to be missed, Hollywood agent.
Leslie has played two characters named Bunny. Coincidence? I think not. Bunny has been Leslie’s nickname since childhood. In Murder at the Presidio, a USA Network movie now available on DVD, writer/director John Fasano named her character Bunny. Also, in the original Broadway production of California Suite, Neil Simon named her character Bunny, and it remains Bunny in all publications of this very successful play. Both characters were actually named after her nickname, a fact she remains very proud of.
Leslie is also very proud to have been cast as Bet Tanner, in the dark drama Black Water Transit. The film takes place in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It also stars Laurence Fishburne, Carl Urban, Brittany Snow, Stephen Dorff and Beverly D’Angelo. It was directed by Tony Kaye (American History X) and should be coming out in the near future.
Leslie’s father, Dr. Carl Easterbrook, was a singer a professor of music at The University of Nebraska at Kearney, and her mother, Helen Easterbrook, was an English teacher, and also, a Trust Officer at The Platte Valley State Bank in Kearney, NE. Both are now deceased.
Leslie is married to Dan Wilcox. He is an award winning movie and television writer. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America, West.
She has one brother, Dr. Mark Merlin. He is a professor of Ethno-botany at The University of Hawaii. He is also a published author and photographer.
Leslie has fond memories of singing the national anthem at Superbowl XVII, on NBC in 1983. It wasn’t exactly grand opera, but it was certainly a grand honor. And she remembered the words!