Leslie Nielsen dies at 84

Star of Airplane! and Naked Gun

Leslie Nielsen, the actor who became a deadpan comic icon after appearing in Airplane! and The Naked Gun, has died at the age of 84.

He died in hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, yesterday afternoon where he was being treated for pneumonia.

Nephew Doug Nielsen said: ‘With his friends and his wife by his side, he just fell asleep and passed away.’

He was truly a nice man. A very caring, naturally funny guy in day-to-day life, not just because someone wrote something on paper for him. '

Canadian-born Nielsen started out as a serious actor, first in live TV dramas, then as a leading man in films. One of his earliest was Forbidden Planet in 1956, when he played the spaceship commander. Another notable role was in the 1972 disaster movie The Poseidon Adventure.

But it was the spoof disaster film Airplane!, eight years later, that made him a comic star.

After Airplane!'s success, film-making trio Jim Abrahams, David and Jerry Zucker cast him as Detective Frank Drebin in a the spoof TV cop show Police Squad, but it was cancelled after only six episodes.

‘It didn't belong on TV,’ Nielsen later said. ‘It had the kind of humour you had to pay attention to..

However, the character was revived for the The Naked Gun movie and its two sequels.

Subsequently he appeared in several less well-received spoofs, leaving no genre unparodied, including Dracula: Dead And Loving It, Spy Hard, Scary Movie 3 and 4, Superhero Movie and Stan Helsing.

He was married four times, and had two children from his second marriage, Maura and Thea Nielsen.

Here are some of his memorable moments:

Published: 29 Nov 2010

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