RIP: Leslie Nielsen, 1926-2010

Leslie Nielsen, a Canadian-born actor who became known for his deadpan delivery and physical comedy only late in his career, died today from complications of pneumonia in a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 84. 

Nielsen made his first TV appearance in 1948 alongside Charlton Heston, and for more than three decades took on a number of dramatic roles in TV and film, perhaps most notably in classics such as Forbidden Planet and The Poseidon Adventure. It was only when he was in his mid-50s that the comedy team of Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker tapped into Nielsen's line-reading abilities for comedy, casting him as Dr. Rumack in the 1980 hit, Airplane! They quickly followed that up by making Nielsen the lead in their TV spoof of cop shows, Police Squad, which did not make it through a full season on the small screen, but spawned multiple big-screen hits for Lt. Frank Drebin in a trilogy of The Naked Gun films.

Any number of quotable phrases leap to mind, but surely you're thinking of that one.

So far, there's not one definitive Leslie Nielsen compilation video of quotes and scenes up on the YouTube (or elsewhere), so for now, this shall suffice.


Related: Friend of the Internet, Thighmaster, has posted a photographic tribute to Nielsen, along with a link to watch the short-lived Police Squad episodes on Veoh.

Wait a second. Nielsen has one more thing to tell you.


Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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One thought on “RIP: Leslie Nielsen, 1926-2010

  1. Surely you cant be serious.
    – I am serious and don’t call me Shirley.
    I thought that was funny at the age of 10 and I still find it funny now. Tough year for losing comics, Greg, Monica, Robert, Leslie and El Hijo de Cien Caras.

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