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Leslie Nielsen obituary

29 November 2010 9:58 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Canadian actor whose reputation was transformed by his deadpan comic persona in Airplane! and the Naked Gun series

Few people watching the career of the tall, husky and fair-haired Leslie Nielsen, who has died aged 84, could have predicted that the stolid actor who specialised in authority figures would become known as a comedy star after two and a half decades in show business. His reputation was transformed by playing Dr Rumack on board the threatened airliner in Airplane! (1980) and Frank Drebin, the hilariously inept plain-clothes cop, in three Naked Gun films.

What the writer-directors Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker saw in Nielsen, silvery grey and in his mid-50s, was his previously po-faced persona. "They spotted me for being what I really was, a closet comedian," he said. "And how lucky can you get? It's like they said to me, 'Leslie, come out and play.' Thank God for them. »

- Ronald Bergan

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Leslie Nielsen dies: In the comedy pantheon with 'Airplane!' and 'The Naked Gun'

28 November 2010 6:14 PM, PST | Pop2it | See recent Pop2it news »

Leslie Nielsen, whose long Hollywood career includes the comedy classics "Airplane!" and "The Naked Gun," has died.

Nielsen died late Sunday afternoon (Nov. 28) of complications from pneumonia at a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., his family says. His wife and "dear friends" were by his side.

Nielsen's career spans some six decades, beginning with appearances in live TV dramas in the early 1950s. He made his feature film debut in the 1956 sci-fi classic "Forbidden Planet" and worked steadily through the 1960s and '70s in both film and television. His movie credits from that time include "Tammy and the Bachelor" (1957), "The Plainsman" (1966) and "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972), and he appeared on numerous TV shows ranging from "Peyton Place" to "The Streets of San Francisco."

Prior to "Airplane!," the bulk of Nielsen's work had been in dramas, but directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker wanted someone who »


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2011 | 2010

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