Leslie Eileen Easterbrook is an American actress, singer, and producer. She is best known for portraying Sgt. Debbie Callahan in the ‘Police Academy’ film series. Her father, a voice and music professor, trained her for operatic roles and offered her initial training in acting. She starred in her first film ‘Just Tell Me What You Want’ in 1980 as a hospital nurse. That year, she also made her television debut in the sitcom ‘Me and Maxx’. Easterbrook garnered public attention for the first time as Rhonda Lee, the drop-dead gorgeous neighbour of the title characters in the sitcom ‘Laverne & Shirley’. Besides the role of Debbie Callahan, her other famous works include ‘Murder, She Wrote’, ‘Hangin' with Mr. Cooper’, ‘Baywatch’, ‘Matlock’, ‘Hunter’, and ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’. She is also an accomplished singer and has performed the US National Anthem at Super Bowl XVII. Easterbrook is a renowned theatre actor as well, first appearing on a Broadway stage in 1976, and has lent her voice to multiple animated projects. For one of her recent projects, the 2005 horror film ‘The Devil’s Rejects’, she won several awards.
In the 1970s, long before her screen debut, Leslie Easterbrook had already established herself as a stage actor. In 1976, she appeared in the Broadway production of Neil Simon’s play ‘California Suite’. She also starred with Kevin Kline in the Tony-winning original production of ‘On the Twentieth Century’ in 1978. Her extensive work on stage also includes ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, ‘A Bradbury Binary’, ‘Christmas with Cart’, ‘Lotus Land’, ‘A Stroll with Poets’ and ‘Yankee Doodle Dandies’.
Following her big screen debut in ‘Just Tell Me What You Want’ and first television appearance in an episode of NBC’s ‘Me and Maxx’, she played Michelle in ABC’s action adventure ‘Fantasy Island’ (1982), and had recurring roles in CBS’ sitcom ‘Ace Crawford, Private Eye’ (1983). Her first major screen role was as Rhonda Lee in ABC’s ‘Laverne & Shirley’ (1980-83). A tall, voluptuous, and somewhat ditzy aspiring singer/actress, Lee debuted in the season six episode ‘Welcome to Burbank’ and would go on to appear in 50 other episodes.
Easterbrook portrayed several characters in multiple episodes of ABC’s romantic-drama series ‘The Love Boat’ (1981-83) as well as in Angela Lansbury-starrer ‘Murder, She Wrote’. She provided the voice of Mala in two episodes of ‘Superman: The Animated Series’ (1997) and later in the video game rendition (1999) of the series.
She was cast as Sgt. Callahan in the first Police Academy film in 1984. She portrayed the character with significant sex appeal combined with no-nonsense work ethic. Easterbrook would reprise the role in its five sequels, ‘Back in Training’ (1986), ‘Citizens on Patrol’ (1987), ‘Assignment Miami Beach’ (1988), ‘City under Siege’ (1989), and ‘Mission to Moscow’. Callahan also appeared in ‘Police Academy: The Series’ (1997-98), in which she has retired from the force and has been elected District Attorney.
She starred as the Mother Firefly in the 2005 film ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ (previously played by Karen Black in the 2003 prequel ‘House of 1000 Corpses’). A sleeper hit, the movie was well-received by the critics and garnered Easterbrook the Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 2006 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards and the Scream Award for Most Vile Villain, which she shared with some of her co-stars.
Easterbrook played Beatrice in the short-lived horror series ‘The Funny Man’ (2011). Her recent projects include ‘Nightlights’ (2014), ‘Rivers 9’ (2015), ‘The Killing Hour’ (2016), and ‘Beast Mode’. She is set to appear in ‘The Book of Habbalah: Book 1’, ‘Vendetta’, ‘William Froste’, ‘Path’, and ‘Abnormal Attraction’. She is also the producer of the last project.
As a singer, she has sung ‘Am I Blue’ and ‘Team Thing’ for the soundtracks of Police Academy films.
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Born on July 29, 1949, in Los Angeles, California, Leslie Easterbrook is the adopted daughter of Carl and Helen Easterbrook. She was raised in the rural Arcadia in Nebraska. Her father, who was a voice and music professor at the University of Nebraska in Kearney, later helped her prepare for operatic roles and taught her the trumpet for ‘Laverne & Shirley’. Easterbrook studied at Kearney High School and later attended and graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.
She married actor Victor Holchak on May 17, 1979. After their divorce in 1988, she wed writer-producer Dan Wilcox. The couple has no children.
A board member of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, she devotes her time and money to this charity. She also works for several children’s charities, including Girls, Inc., The Sunshine Kids, and Variety Children's Charities.
Easterbrook, who is a member and supporter of the National Rifle Association (NRA), is an ardent gun collector and a gun rights activist. A consummate sports shooter, she released a video titled ‘Beginner's Guide to the Shotgun Sports’ to encourage non-shooters to take up shooting as a sport.