Leonardo DiCaprio Got the Nickname ‘Unlucky Leo’ From Ed Norton, and For Good Reason

When people think about Leonardo DiCaprio, “unlucky” is probably one of the last words that come to mind. Ever since bursting onto the scene at 19 years old in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, the Titanic star has lived the lifestyle of a wealthy playboy. He’s earned over hundreds of million dollars for his movie roles and has dated many of the world’s most sought-after women.

However, some of DiCaprio’s closest friends don’t consider him so lucky. In fact, one of his closest friends, Ed Norton, calls him “Unlucky Leo” due to his penchant for having near-death experiences.

Ed Norton and Leonardo DiCaprio have a close friendship

Leonardo DiCaprio speaks onstage during the 2019 Global Citizen Festival: Power The Movement
Leonardo DiCaprio speaks onstage during the 2019 Global Citizen Festival: Power The Movement | Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen

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Norton and DiCaprio have been friends for many years, so Norton surely knows more about DiCaprio than most. He spoke about their relationship during a resurfaced 2016 interview with Jimmy Fallon.

“Leo’s like a very old friend of mine,” Norton said. “And our friendship’s totally based in our mutual passion for environmental advocacy and climate change work. We’ve taken a lot of trips together, to amazing places,” Norton said. “We’ve gone diving together, and gone to see a lot of incredible natural wonders together.”

He nicknamed Leonardo DiCaprio ‘Unlucky Leo’

Later in the interview, Norton revealed that he and his wife call DiCaprio “Unlucky Leo” because he always seems to have dangerous things happening to him. 

“We call him unlucky Leo … But you have to understand, Leo has almost had a parachute not open on him, skydiving on his birthday … He’s had a plane engine blow up on him,” Norton said. “And my wife and I make this joke, we’re like, ‘Let’s not do adventurous things with Leo…”

He had to save Leonardo DiCaprio’s life while scuba diving

Some people might think that Norton is exaggerating, but he has a personal anecdote to prove his point. Years ago, the two went scuba diving while doing environmental work, he had to help save DiCaprio from drowning after he got lost. 

“So we’re in the water, and after a while I’m looking around and I realize he’s just not there,” Norton said. “He’s not around, and I think to myself ‘I know Leo, I know how he is with his devices, he’s probably got his face in that camera and he’s gone way off, following these things.”

Norton later revealed that he had to share his oxygen tank with DiCaprio in order for them to safely return to the group. 

“So I start swimming out, like deep into the ocean, and I’m coming along, and way off in the murk … I see something, and it’s Leo, and he’s coming toward me, and I can see from like 50 yards away his eyes are like this big [motions hands], and he’s going like this [motions cut-off signal]. So I give [my oxygen tank] to him … We did the buddy breathe thing and we go up, and he’s falling all over me, like ‘Buddy, buddy, you saved my life, you saved me.’ … It didn’t seem dramatic to me, I think it did to him.” 

Leonardo DiCaprio has had several other near-death experiences

Unfortunately, DiCaprio’s dramatic scuba diving debacle is far from his first brush with death. As Norton said, DiCaprio has also had an airplane engine explode right next to him while on a flight. He’s also had a great white shark come dangerously close to attacking him, and his parachute failed to deploy while he was skydiving.

Clearly, DiCaprio is very deserving of his nickname.