Leslie William Nielsen, (February 11, 1926 – November 28, 2010) was a Canadian-American actor and comedian. Nielsen appeared in over 100 films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career, portraying over 220 characters.
Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, Nielsen enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and worked as disc jockey before receiving a scholarship to Neighborhood Playhouse. Beginning with a television role in 1948, he quickly expanded to over 50 television appearances two years later. Nielsen appeared in his first films in 1956 and began collecting roles in dramas, westerns, and romance films.
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.
In November 2010, Nielsen was admitted to a Fort Lauderdale, Florida hospital for pneumonia. On November 28, Doug Nielsen, Nielsen’s nephew, announced to the CJOB radio station that Nielsen had died in his sleep around 5:30 p.m. EST, surrounded by family and friends.
Today at 5:30, with his friends and his wife Barbaree 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. He was a very tender-hearted man. He was one of my best friends and I loved him dearly. I’ll miss him greatly.
And we will also miss him a lot.
Post author: Daniel Semper