Glenda Cleveland: is Jeffrey Dahmer’s neighbour real, is she still alive - who is Netflix actress Niecy Nash?

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Cleveland wasn’t actually Dahmer’s next-door neighbour, but did live close to the serial killer

Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story continues to enrapture the subscriber base, despite piddling reviews,allegations of on set bullying and complaints from the real-life victims of the real-life horrific serial killer.

The dramatised version of events tells the story of Dahmer and his victims in uncomfortable, intimate detail, and has proven one of the biggest hits for the streaming service of the year.

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One of the real-life characters featured in the show is that of Dahmer neighbour Glenda Cleveland.

Cleveland was a crucial piece of the puzzle in putting Jeffrey Dahmer in prison, evenafter police ignored her repeated warnings about the serial killer. Long after Dahmer was captured, she continued to fight for the victims’ justice.

Here is everything you need to know about her.

Who is the real Glenda Cleveland?

Though Monster is based on the real-events surrounding Dahmer and his crimes, it does make some deviation from reality for artistic purposes.

In fact, Cleveland was not, as portrayed in the docu-drama, Dahmer’s next-door neighbour. That dubious honour fell to a woman named Pamela Bass, who was actually rather fond of Dahmer.

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In interviews since his arrest, Bass stated that he was "friendly and sharing", and on multiple occasions had made her sandwiches. Somewhat gruesomely though, Bass said that once Dahmer’s crimes were uncovered, she feared his provisions may have been filled with human flesh.

Niecy Nash as Glenda Cleveland in Monster (Photo: Netflix)Niecy Nash as Glenda Cleveland in Monster (Photo: Netflix)
Niecy Nash as Glenda Cleveland in Monster (Photo: Netflix) | Netflix

But Bass was erased from the story for the new Netflix show, with aspects of her character and story blended with that of Cleveland.

The real Glenda Cleveland actually lived in the building opposite the Oxford Apartments Dahmer called home, and was long suspicious of him, due to the terrible odour emanating from his flat and his proclivity to use power tools late at night.

Those suspicions came to a head in May 1991, when Cleveland was alerted by her daughter and niece to a bewildered and confused victim stumbling from Dahmer’s home.

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Dahmer had drugged 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone, drilled a hole in his head, and poured acid into his brain, leaving him practically catatonic. The teen miraculously regained consciousness and staggered out of the building, where he was cared for by Glenda while she dialled 911 from the street.

Dahmer, returning from a shop run, encountered police officers and Cleveland outside his building, and miraculously convinced the police that the teen was 19, was his partner, and was "just drunk."

Believing Dahmer over Cleveland, the officers assisted in getting Sinthasomphone back into Dahmer’s flat to "cool off."

Who plays her in Monster?

In Monster, Cleveland is played by Niecy Nash, an American actress, comedian and television host, perhaps best known for her role as Deputy Raineesha Williams in the comedy series Reno 911!, or as Denise Hemphill in the Fox horror-comedy series, Scream Queens.

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When asked about her portrayal of Cleveland in Dahmer, Nash toldDigital Spy: “If anything, I would want people to know Glenda Cleveland was special. That was a special woman.

“To continue on and on and on in an effort to get someone to do something. She deserved way more than a little cheesy plaque at the bottom of a social hall somewhere.

She deserved way more than the police to step in front of her and say, ‘Look at what we did and what we tried to do’. And I will want people to know that we all know or have been or will be a Glenda Cleveland in this life.”

Where is she now?

Glenda mainly avoided the media spotlight following Dahmer’s eventual arrest, stating that she "just wanted to get back to normal."

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In the years after, she was recognised for her part in alerting authorities to Dahmer’s actions, being honoured by local women’s groups and the Milwaukee Police Department, among other accolades.

She mostly returned to normalcy, working as a data entry clerk until retirement.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cleveland remained in her home near the Oxford Apartments (later demolished) until 2009. She then relocated to a building less than a mile away.

She died of natural causes on 24 December 2010 at the age of 56.

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