One of my all time favorite comedic actors has passed away from complications from pneumonia. Goodbye Mr. Leslie Neilsen, you will be missed!
Nielsen went to Hollywood in the mid-1950s after performing in 150 live television dramas in New York. With a craggily handsome face, blond hair and 6-foot-2 height, he seemed ideal for a movie leading man.
Although his acting career crossed a variety of genres in both television and films, Nielsen’s deadpan delivery as a doctor in 1980’s Airplane! marked a turning point in his career, one that would make him, in the words of film critic Roger Ebert, “the Olivier of spoofs.” Nielsen enjoyed further success with The Naked Gun and its sequels, based on a brief television series he starred in. His portrayal of serious characters seemingly oblivious to (and complicit in) their absurd surroundings gave him a reputation as a comedian.
In the last decades of his career, Nielsen appeared in multiple spoof and parody films, many of which were met poorly by critics but performed well in box office and home media releases. Nielsen was recognized with a variety of awards throughout his career and was inducted into both the Canada and Hollywood Walk of Fame. He married four times and had two daughters from his second marriage.
“Shirley you can’t be serious!” – “I am and don’t call me Shirley” – Rest in Peace Leslie Neilsen – 11/28/2010