Biography

There have been several David Lelands in the entertainment world. One was a child actor of the '40s who costarred with Laurel and Hardy in Nothing But Trouble (1945) before slipping into obscurity; another was a corpulent TV character actor of the '50s who earned a two-page spread in TV Guide by shedding some 150 pounds, the better to attain leading roles (he didn't). The David Leland dealt with here was a British actor/director/screenwriter, who forsook his family's electrician business to become a repertory actor at the Nottingham Playhouse. At London's Royal Court Theatre, Leland made a name for himself by wearing several production hats, including acting and writing. Leland could be seen acting in a number of films, among them Julius Caesar (1970) and Time Bandits (1981), and in BBC-TV's serialization of Last of the Mohicans in the mid '70s. From one of his own TV plays, Leland fashioned a film script and came up with his first significant cinema success, Mona Lisa (1986). This was followed by Personal Services (1987), a wry comedy about prostitution which served to solidify the screen reputation of actress Julie Walters. Leland received a British Academy Award for his first directorial effort, Wish You Were Here (1987), another exploration of misguided sexuality for which he also wrote the script and the lyrics to the songs. Leland briefly left London for Hollywood in 1989, where he helmed a somewhat wearisome study of the American obsession with death, Checking Out (1989). Back in the British isles, David Leland returned to form with Crossing the Line (1990) (aka The Big Man) which used the illicit world of bare-knuckled fighting to examine one man's sense of self-worth. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi