Sir John ‘Jack’ Leslie
In almost every way, Sir John Norma Ide Leslie, 4th Baronet, was the quintessential aristocratic gentleman. He was tall, charming and handsome in his youth, was well-connected, lived in a huge house and was fabulously wealthy. And, indeed, for almost all his life he did what was expected of gentlemen of his social standing. When he died in 2016, however, he had become known as the “Disco King”, which tells you all you need to know about his crazy final few years on Earth.
The cousin of Sir Winston Churchill, Sir John was born in New York in 1916. He was just a young boy when he was brought back to the family pile, Castle Leslie in Ireland. However, he spent almost all of his young life in London, mixing with the social elite and earning a well-rounded education. As was the way at the time, this was followed by university in Cambridge and then into the British Army. When the Second World War ignited, Sir John was sent to northern France, However, his was to be a brief war. He was captured in May of 1940 and spent the rest of the conflict in a prisoner-of-war camp.
After the war, Sir John lived a largely uneventful, if very comfortable, life. He didn’t have to work, just enjoyed the good life in London and continental Europe. In 1994, he returned to Castle Leslie, and from then on, his more eccentric ways started becoming apparent. He would give visitors ghost tours of the stately home, adding theatrical twists and flourishes. And it looked like he was going to enjoy a quiet final few years – until he hit the age of 80. To the shock of his family and friends, he chose to spend the landmark birthday in Ibiza, partying at a world-famous nightclub. He became hooked to dance music and partying.
From then on, Sir Jack was a regular at Ireland’s finest clubs. He would regularly return to Ibiza and he also partied his way around the world, earning him the title of “Disco King”. Of course, he would always wear his gentlemanly tweeds and trademark hat, even when on the dance floor. Speaking soon before his death, he explained that “the boom-boom music” as he called it “electrifies me. I can leap up and down – it shakes my liver up.” Sir Jack died at the age of 99, having recorded his colorful life in an autobiography entitled, appropriately enough, Never a Dull Moment.
Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:
“The life of history’s most eccentric aristocrat who lived fast and died young after frittering away £43million on fancy dress.” Zara Whelan, The Daily Post, December 2017.