In Memoriam: Leslie Nielsen 1926 – 2010

Funny man Leslie Nielsen, who made everyone  laugh with his great performances in comedy films like Airplane!, Scary movie and The Naked Gun has died at the age of 84.

His agent, John. S. Kelly, confirmed that the actor died Sunday near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., surrounded by his “lovely wife and friends” , due to complications of pneumonia.

About Leslie Nielsen:
Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, where his father was a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Nielsen began his career in television in the 1950s, after training at New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse.

He found early success as a dramatic actor in the 1972 blockbuster The Poseidon Adventure (he played the captain of the doomed ship) and on TV shows like Bonanza and The Fugitive. But behind the scenes, he was reportedly known as a prankster. Landing his role as Detective Frank Drebin on TV’s Police Squad would prove to be a turning point in his career, as that became the basis for the Naked Gun movies.

In 1998, the actor told The New York Times: “It’s been dawning on me slowly that for the past 35 years I have been cast against type,” he said, “and I’m finally getting to do what I really wanted to do.”

Nielsen is survived by his fourth wife, Barbaree Lee Neilsen, and two daughters, Maura Nielsen Kaplan and Thea Nielsen Disney, both of whom appeared alongside their father in the comedies, Dracula: Dead and Loving It and Wrongfully Accused.

Nielsen appeared in over 100 films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career, portraying over 220 characters.

Leslie Nielsen
1926 – 2010