Leslie Nielsen dead? Surely you can’t be serious
November 28, 2010
Leslie Nielsen, the dramatic actor who reinvented himself with a comic flair after the classic movie “Airplane!” died Sunday in Fort Lauderdale. The Canadian-born actor, 84, had been battling pneumonia.
Nielsen burst into movie history as the spaceship captain in the 1950’s sci-fi thriller “Forbidden Planet,” followed by a starring turn as “The Swamp Fox” Francis Marion, who fought the British during the American Revolution on “Walt Disney Presents.” Nielsen’s career continued through the 1960’s and ’70s, mainly in television dramas.
Everything changed in 1980 when Nielsen agreed to star at Dr. Rumack for the Zucker Brothers in “Airplane!” where he poked fun at his serious image along with Peter Graves, Robert Stack, and Lloyd Bridges. That association with the Zuckers led Nielsen to spend the second half of his career lampooning everything from police work to Mister Magoo in one silly comedy after another.
Aside from “Airplane!” Nielsen’s best success at the box office came thanks to his starring role as hapless Detective Frank Drebin in the “Naked Gun” movies and the original short-lived television show “Police Squad!”
Nielsen appeared locally at the Performing Arts Center back in the 1990’s when he toured with his one-man show about famed attorney Clarence Darrow.
Funeral arrangements are pending.