'Naked Gun' actor Leslie Nielsen is dead

He was 84. His agent John S Kelly said that the actor had died due to complications from pneumonia after spending 12 days in the hospital. Nielsen's wife Barbaree and his family and friends were at his bedside when he passed away.

Nielsen was born in Regina, Canada in 1926 and first came to Hollywood during the 1950s after performing in 150 live television dramas in New York.

With a craggily handsome face, blond hair and 6ft 2in height, he seemed ideal for a leading man. He quickly became known as a serious actor, although behind the camera he was a prankster, an aspect of his personality never exploited until disaster spoof 'Airplane!' was released in 1980 and became a huge hit.

His lines in 'Airplane' became legendary. When he asks a passenger if he can fly the plane, the man replies, "Surely you can't be serious". Nielsen responds, "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley."

He also saw success with serious roles, including that of a spaceship commander in the science fiction classic 'Forbidden Planet'.

He found his best dramatic role as the captain of an overturned ocean liner in the 1972 disaster movie 'The Poseidon Adventure'.

But Neilsen's heart was in comedy and he starred in 'Repossessed', a spoof of demonic possession movies like 'The Exorcist', and 'Mr Magoo', in which he played the title role of the good-natured bumbler.

In recent years, Nielsen also appeared in 'Scary Movie 3' and 'Scary Movie 4', along with comedy films 'Superhero Movie' and 'Stan Helsing'.

Comments (+)