Leslie Nielsen Dies Aged 84
Comic actor Leslie Nielsen, best known for his role as the blundering cop in The Naked Gun, died in his sleep on Sunday. Nielsen enjoyed a career in film and television that spanned over 60 years, revered for his performances in romp and spoof films, offering dead-pan performances of authority figures caught in mayhem. Nielsen’s spokesman announced that he died near his home in Florida, surrounded by his friends and family.
Nielsen’s nephew Doug announced the news on Canadian radio station CJOB, saying: “Just in this last 48 hours, the infection has gotten too much and today at 5.30am, with his friends and his wife by his side, he just fell asleep and passed away.”
Born in Saskatchewan, he served unusual stints as an aerial gunner in the Canadian Air Force and as a radio DJ before studying. Nielsen played serious and even romantic parts in television series and films throughout the 50s and 60s, earning recognition for lead roles in Forbidden Planet (1956) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972). But it was not until 1980’s Airplane, where he played a doctor caught in aeronautic chaos that he was marked out as a connoisseur of spoof movies. This brought on new levels of success when he took the lead in The Naked Gun and it’s early 90’s sequels, setting his distinctly unsmiling style that would make him a household name.
Although has also taken serious roles, including the lead in stage play Darrow during the 90’s, he will be remembered more for his composed portrayals of important characters seemingly unaware of the calamity unfolding around them.