Don McLeod has been a performer in film and television for over 45 years. After a lucrative mime career Don suddenly found himself playing gorillas and monsters, perhaps most famously as the Samsonite Gorilla. He is the most interesting unknown Hollywood star, and his story needs to be told.
About The Project
Don McLeod is a world-renowned Hollywood movement performer. His career spans many aspects of movement art, including mime, Japanese Butoh, animal and creature performances, writing, poetry, and acting.
His credits include top Hollywood productions, Oscar-winning films and world-famous television shows. Don has worked with such talents as Steven Spielberg, Robin Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jack Nicholson. He has worked very closely with special effects visionaries, pioneering practical effects and costume work with Rick Baker, Rob Bottin and Dave Miller, to name a few.
The role that launched his career was playing the American Tourister Gorilla in the now-classic Samsonite luggage commercials. Even to this day, these ads still rank as the number three most succesful ad campaign of all time, according to Entertainment Weekly. Don appeared on many talkshows around the globe as the American Tourister Gorilla.
As one of the industry’s foremost primate performers, performing in one of the most succesful ad campaigns of all time, this quickly led to a long career of movies, including Trading Places, Total Recall, Hook and The Man With Two Brains. His first big venture into playing creatures was the seminal werewolf film, The Howling, directed by the legendary Joe Dante.
But it’s hard to stay known when your face is covered in a mask. Don now performs quietly as a living statue and mime at corporate events, weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. And like a statue, he is stuck in place while the world passes him by.
Or is he actually freer than he’s ever been before, and focusing on the things that really matter to him?
This project is very close to our hearts. Our small team has been working on this documentary for two years. We are at the final gate and our footage is so amazing, and Don is so compelling, we would love to have you join us in bringing this incredible story to the world.
Director of Photography
Visual Effects Supervisor
About This Team
Adam Meir is an actor, mime, voice over actor and a suit performer. He was a student of Don McLeod’s and that started a 10 year professional relationship between them. Adam is now Don’s protege as the Gorilla and he is also a top performer in Don’s theater company. His work can be seen on TV and film, including ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO, FX, Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers.
David Polcino is a filmmaker and producer. He was the Supervising Animatics Editor at Film Roman (The Simpsons, King of the Hill and Family Guy). His effects work has appeared in Sacha Baron Cohen’s films, as well as Kendrick Lamar, George Clinton and Ice Cube videos. David is also the producer and cinematographer of the award winning feature film Near Myth: the Oskar Knight Story, as well as producer of the film Lovesick Fool, starring Lisa Kudrow and Fred Willard.