How Leif Garrett Overcame Addiction and Found Redemption

How Leif Garrett Overcame Addiction and Found Redemption

Who is Leif Garrett?

American actor and singer Leif Garrett was born Leif Per Nervik in Los Angeles, California USA on 8 November 1961, making Scorpio his zodiac sign. He’s appeared in more than 60 TV series and movies, but is perhaps still known best for playing Bob Sheldon in the 1983 crime movie “The Outsiders”, which starred Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio and C. Thomas Howell, and was directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It follows the feud between the Greasers and the Socs gangs, and the film won one of its five award nominations.

Leif left the film industry in 2009, wanting to focus on rehab and finally leave drugs behind him; he’s only recently returned to acting, and is currently shooting for the upcoming movie “Clown Motel 3”.

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Education and early life

Leif was raised in Los Angeles alongside his sister Dawn Lyn, by their mother Carolyn Stellar who was an actress, and father Rik Nervik, who was absent during most of Leif’s upbringing.

One can say that Leif was thrown into the film industry, as he was only seven when he made his debut film appearance, playing Jimmy Henderson in the popular 1969 romantic comedy “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice”, which Paul Mazursky wrote and directed, and which starred Elliott Gould, Robert Culp and Natalie Wood. It follows the life of four middle-aged people, and the film won four of its 16 award nominations, including Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Writing and Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Leif’s since been active in the film industry.

He was only 15 when he matriculated from high school, and then focused on his career rather than to pursue a college degree.

Roles in TV series

Leif’s debut TV series role was playing Billy in the 1970 episode “The Human Element” of the fantasy comedy “Nanny and the Professor”, and the same year saw him play Bobby Granger in the episode “Heroes Are Born” of the comedy “Family Affair”.

He gained recognition in 1975, when cast to star as Endy Karras in the adventure “Three for the Road”, created by Jerry McNeely, and which also starred Alex Rocco and Vincent Van Patten. It follows the life of a freelance photographer whose wife’s just died, and who now has to raise their two sons all by himself. The remainder of the decade saw Leif play supporting characters in the adventure comedy “ABC Afterschool Specials”, the action fantasy adventure “Wonder Woman” and the drama “Family”.

He had only three TV series roles in the ‘80s, appearing in an episode of the crime action “Hunter”, the family fantasy adventure “Superboy” and the fantasy comedy “Monsters”.

Leif then appeared in only a single TV series in the ‘90s, portraying himself in the 1999 episode “The Wish List” of the comedy “Suddenly Susan”, which starred Kathy Griffin, Judd Nelson and Brooke Shields, and was created by Steven Peterman and Clyde Phillips. It follows Susan who’s just left her fiancé at the altar, and the series won eight of its 22 award nominations.

Leif’s only TV series role since 2000 has been voicing a supporting character in the 2001 episode “The Thin White Line” of the animated comedy “Family Guy”.

Justine Bateman, Leif Garrett & Michael J. Fox

Posted by Brat Pack & 80’s teen movies on Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Roles in movies

The year 1971 saw Leif play Towhead in the western horror “Black Noon”, while some of his following roles were in the 1973 biographical crime action “Walking Tall”, the 1974 horror “Peopletoys” and the 1974 action thriller “Strange Homecoming”.

In 1978, he portrayed Our Guest at Heartland in the popular fantasy adventure comedy “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, directed by Michael Schultz, and which starred Peter Frampton, Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb. It follows a small town band who’ve become famous overnight, and the film was nominated for two awards.

Leif started off the ‘80s with lead roles in the 1981 sports comedy “Longshot”, the 1985 musical “Thunder Alley” and the 1985 action “Shaker Run”, and the year 1988 saw him play the main character Brent Hoover in the horror thriller comedy “Cheerleader Camp”, directed by John Quinn, and which also starred Betsy Russell and Lucinda Dickey. It follows a serial killer as he’s murdering cheerleaders at a remote summer camp.

Some of Leif’s most notable performances in the ‘90s were perhaps in the 1995 adventure “Dominion”, the 1995 horror thriller “The Whispering” and the 1998 crime thriller comedy “I Woke Up Early the Day I Died”.

The year 2003 saw him portray a supporting character in the comedy “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star”, which starred Mary McCormack and David Spade, and was directed by Sam Weisman. It follows a former child actor who’s hired a foster family to re-create his childhood, and the film won one of its two award nominations.

Leif’s three most recent film roles have been in the 2005 romantic family comedy “Popstar”, the 2006 action “Circumstances of Fate” and the 2009 comedy “Fish Mich”.

Other credits

Leif’s sung songs in 15 movies and TV series, including in the 2001 adventure comedy movie “Joe Dirt”, the 2003 comedy film “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” and the 2005 comedy movie “Popstar”.

Some of his most recent talk-show appearances have been in “Celebrity Page”, “The Dr. Oz Show” and “Dark Side of Comedy”.

Awards and nominations

Leif won a 1978 Western Heritage Award for Fictional Television Drama, for his and his colleagues’ performance in “Peter Lundy and the Medicine Hat Stallion”.

He was also nominated for a 1977 Bravo Otto Germany Award for Best Actor.

Music career

Leif signed his first music contract with Atlantic Records in 1976, and released his debut album “Leif Garrett” in July 1977; he then signed a new contract with Scotti Brothers Records, and his second album “Feel the Need” was released in 1978. The album made Leif quite popular in the USA, as its lead single “I Was Made for Dancin’” peaked at #10 on the US Hot 100 chart and #4 on the UK Singles chart.

Leif’s following three albums “Same Goes For You”, “Can’t Explain” and “My Movie of You” were released in 1979, 1980 and 1981, respectively, and he then focused on acting.

Drug addiction

Leif’s revealed that he was 14 when he began taking drugs. On 3 November 1979, five days shy of turning 18, Leif crashed his mother’s Porsche 914 while driving to buy cocaine; he was drunk and high on Quaaludes, and his friend Roland Winkler who was sitting in the passenger seat was left a paraplegic. Roland eventually filed a lawsuit against Leif, and Leif’s insurers Transamerica Insurance Co. was ordered to pay $4 million to Roland; Leif was ordered to pay Roland only $15,000.

He was arrested for being in possession of cocaine in 1997, and again on 29 June 1999 after the police caught him trying to buy cocaine and heroin from an undercover police officer. Leif completed a rehab program in 2000, but then returned to using and was arrested for the possession of cocaine in 2004.

He was arrested on 14 January 2006 after police found heroin in his car, and was sentenced to three months behind bars on 11 May 2006, after failing to complete a rehab program. Leif was arrested again on 1 February 2010, for being in possession of black tar heroin, and on 18 October 2010 entered a rehabilitation facility.

Love life and relationships

Leif and American actress Nicollette Sheridan were in an on-and-off relationship from 1980 through 1985, while he then dated several celebrities, including American screenwriter and former actress Justine Tanya Bateman, American actress Tatum Beatrice O’Neal, and American former actress Christina Ann McNichol.

Leif and American actress Elaine Bilstad were in a long-term relationship in the ‘90s, which ended when she died from a heart problem on 30 January 1999.

Leif’s yet to mention other women whom he’s perhaps been with, he seems to be unattached as of April 2023, hasn’t married and doesn’t have children.

Interesting facts and hobbies

Leif and his former friend Roland Winkler reunited 20 years after their Porsche 914 accident, making a guest appearance in a TV show, and Roland revealed that he held no grudges against Leif, and that Leif’s actions following the accident actually saved his life. Ronald died aged 57 on 25 May 2017.

Leif filed for personal bankruptcy in October 2001, revealing that his only income was $1,000 which he was receiving monthly from his mother as a gift, and that he was in a $75,000 debt.

He’s been involved in charity work since the launch of his acting career, and in September 2017 performed at the Hurricane Harvey fundraiser event.

Leif’s revealed that he’s spent over $1 million on drugs.

His sister Dawn’s also an actress; she’s appeared in 30 TV series and movies, and is probably still known best for playing Dwana in the 1973 biographical crime action movie “Walking Tall”.

Leif’s favorite actor is Samuel L. Jackson, and some of his favorite movies include “Coach Carter”, “Captain Marvel” and “Pulp Fiction”.

Height, eyes and wealth

Leif’s age is 61. He has brown eyes and hair, is 6ft (1.83m) tall and weighs around 180lbs (81kgs).

Leif’s net worth’s been estimated at just $10,000 as of April 2023.

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