Don McLeod was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He grew up as an only child on a small rural farm near Mendocino, in Northern California. He studied movement and theatre at Pasadena Playhouse, School of Performing Arts San Diego, and the Banff School of Fine Arts in Canada. McLeod's dynamic style of physical theatre and dance was developed by his training with a number of the world's leading artists including Marcel Marceau, Etienne Decroux, Jerzy Grotowski and Sankai Juku.
Don's interest in butoh began during his many trips to Japan, which began in the late 70's. His butoh style has developed after many years studying the techniques of Japan's leading butoh artists including Kazuo Ohno, Yoko Ashikawa, Akaji Maro and most recently with Yukio Waguri, who passed on the "secret" teachings of Tatsumi Hijikata and his Butoh Fu techniques.His physical theatre career began when he studied with Marcel Marceau in the early 70's.
McLeod went on to form his own professional company and also began appearing in films, television and solo concerts throughout the U.S.. In 1974 he was selected as a resident performing artist at the World's Fair in Washington, and then was picked to be a featured part of singer Diana Ross's World Tour. He has performed for President Jimmy Carter, appeared with Ms. Ross on Broadway, and toured his solo show in Japan since 1983. He has lived and performed extensively in Argentina, South Africa, Japan and Canada.
As a movement artist and actor, McLeod has appeared in many feature films, television shows and commercials. His film roles include the bizarre lead werewolf in The Howling, the over-sexed gorilla in Trading Places, and a physicist/gorilla in The Man With Two Brains. He doubled for Jack Nicholson in the Devil transformation scenes from Witches of Eastwick, played Peter Pan's Shadow in Hook, a gorilla in Born To Be Wild, Quasimodo in Naked Gun 2½ and a starring role (as a female gorilla) in Mom Can I Keep Her.
Don was recently featured on the TV Series, Sheena - Queen of the Jungle. He has also appeared on many other TV shows including Speilberg's Amazing Stories, where he co-starred with Hayley Mills. Many will remember Don as the suitcase-smashing gorilla on the award-winning American Tourister Luggage ads on TV. He was recently seen as the Grim Reaper in the new TIVO commercial, and as a "sexy" orangutan for MasterCard. He also was a regular on the popular TV series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, where he was featured as Tarzan's gorilla buddy Bolgani. In addition he played all the creatures and monsters on the show.
Don has toured numerous colleges, theatres and high schools in the U.S. and Canada. He frequently tours to Asia and South America, and he is also a part-time faculty member at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood, where he teaches an intensive butoh workshop. McLeod is also a widely published poet and fiction writer, and the co-editor of the literary journal Vol. No. Magazine.