Leo Eaton

Biography: Born of an actress mother (Kay Clayton) and a diplomat father (Gai Eaton, also a Moslem scholar renowned for his books about Islam in the modern world) who separated when Leo was only 3, Leo alternated his childhood between boarding school and touring with his mother's theater companies around Britain, with occasional vacation trips to visit his father in the West Indies. He joined the film industry straight out of school, working as a 3rd (later 2nd) assistant director on such 60s TV classics as THE SAINT (with Roger Moore) and THE BARON (with Steve Forrest).
In 1967 he joined Gerry Anderson's Century 21 Productions cult TV classic THUNDERBIRDS and started his directing career on later Gerry Anderson series such as CAPTAIN SCARLET, JOE 90 and THE SECRET SERVICE. After working briefly on Gerry Anderson's first live-action TV series UFO in 1969, Leo left the UK on a freighter for Mexico.
Between 1970 and 1972, he lived variously in San Miguel Allende in Mexico,
Born of an actress mother (Kay Clayton) and a diplomat father (Gai Eaton, also a Moslem scholar renowned for his books about Islam in the modern world) who separated when Leo was only 3, Leo alternated his childhood between boarding school and touring with his mother's theater companies around Britain, with occasional vacation trips to visit his father in the West Indies. He joined the film industry straight out of school, working as a 3rd (later 2nd) assistant director on such 60s TV classics as THE SAINT (with Roger Moore) and THE BARON (with Steve Forrest).
In 1967 he joined Gerry Anderson's Century 21 Productions cult TV classic THUNDERBIRDS and started his directing career on later Gerry Anderson series such as CAPTAIN SCARLET, JOE 90 and THE SECRET SERVICE. After working briefly on Gerry Anderson's first live-action TV series UFO in 1969, Leo left the UK on a freighter for Mexico.
Between 1970 and 1972, he lived variously in San Miguel Allende in Mexico, Toronto, Canada and LA (where he worked briefly for porno-publisher Pendulum Publishers and shared an office with the notorius Ed Wood Jr.
1972 saw Leo respectable once more and teaching scriptwriting and film production for 2 years at the University of Texas in Austin (where a bunch of his script-writing students went off in the summer to make a low budget horror film titled TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE).
After a brief stint back in London making documentaries between 1974 and 1977, Leo and Texan wife Jeri moved to a small village in Crete where Leo lived for the next three years, starving poetically, building model Cretan fishing boats (which he sold to tourists) and writing brilliant but unpublished novels. Back in West Texas in 1980 with Jeri, Leo returned to making documentaries, coaxing country singer Waylan Jennings out on cowboy roundup to make the 1982 documentary classic MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN COWBOYS. Two years later he was head of production for PBS stations KLRN & KLRU in San Antonio & Austin, Texas. For them he produced NEWSCAST FROM THE PAST, a set of six history lessons set in the context of a modern TV station. In 1986 Eaton moved to Maryland Public Television (MPT) in Owings Mills, MD, to make TIMELINE, the "history as news" series co-produced with Turkish & Spanish TV that still stands as one of the most expensive series ever produced for PBS.

Between 1988 and 1994, Leo was Senior VP of National/International Production for MPT, responsible for hundreds of hours of prime-time PBS programming before going freelance in 1994 to return to making his own films. He brought the Kratt Brothers to American Television (KRATTS' CREATURES & ZOBOOMAFOO) and still works with them, executive producing their new prime-time series for the National Geographic Channel. He works regularly with British television host/historian Michael Wood, for whom he's executive produced every series since LEGACY in 1990 (his latest, THE LIFE & TIMES OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE) will be aired on BBC-2 (UK) and PBS in 2003.
Leo also produces, directs and writes several hours of documentary and entertainment programming every year for networks like A&E, PBS and the National Geographic Channel, as well as writing history. His most recent book IN SEARCH OF ANCIENT IRELAND, comes out in September 2002. He and his wife Jeri still live in Maryland, although they still spend time at their house in West Texas. Their son, Alexander, is now 14 and swears he wants nothing to do with the world of stage (from his grandmother) or television (from his father) with which he's been surrounded all his life.
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