Sunday November 28, 2010 8:38 pm
Leslie Nielsen, Beloved Funnyman, Dead at 84
Leslie Nielsen, 84, passed away Sunday due to complications from pneumonia. During his 60-year Hollywood career, Nielsen portrayed memorable characters in Airplane!, The Naked Gun and dozens of other films. Nielsen’s wife and several friends were with him when he died.
Nielsen starred in The Poseidon Adventure, See How They Run and several other serious dramatic films before he scored a role in 1980’s Airplane!. That comedic role helped propel Nielsen to stardom.
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From then on, Nielsen became almost exclusively a comedic actor. He went on to memorable TV and movie roles, notably as Frank Drebin in Police Squad. The series got good reviews, but NBC pulled the plug after four episodes. As Nielsen noted, “it didn’t belong on TV … it had the kind of humor you had to pay attention to.” Nielsen assumed his Police Squad role for the Naked Gun movie franchise, which eventually spawned three flicks.
Nielsen also appeared in many spoof films, including Dracula: Dead and Loving It and Spy Hard.
Leslie Nielsen was a native Canadian whose father was an officer for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. “There 15 people in the village, including five of [my family]. If my father arrested somebody in the winter, he’d have to wait until the thaw to turn him in.” During his lengthy entertainment career, Nielsen received the Jack Beeny Award from UCLA and achieved a spot on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Canada's Walk of Fame.
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