Today in New Delhi, India
Oct 22, 2018-Monday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

Airplane! actor Leslie Nielsen dies at 84

Canadian comic actor Leslie Nielsen, star of a string of madcap spoof movies including Airplane! and The Naked Gun, died at the age of 84, due to complications from pneumonia.

entertainment Updated: Nov 29, 2010 19:09 IST

Canadian comic actor Leslie Nielsen, star of a string of madcap spoof movies including



The Naked Gun

, died of complications from pneumonia in Florida on Sunday, a spokesman said. He was 84.

Nielsen is probably best known for playing the bumbling cop Lt. Frank Drebin in the

Naked Gun

franchise, but enjoyed a movie and television career spanning more than 60 years.

The spokesman said Nielsen died in a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, surrounded by his wife, Barbaree, and friends at 5:34 p.m. EST (2234 GMT).

Leslie Nielsen

Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, the son of a Canadian mounted policeman, Nielsen served stints as an aerial gunner in the air force and as a radio disc jockey before studying acting in Toronto and then in New York City.

He got his first big break in 1950 with a

Studio One

television appearance, and came to Hollywood in 1954 to star in the film

The Vagabond King


For the first 30 years of his career, he built his reputation playing authority figures such as the captain of the ill-fated cruise ship in

The Poseidon Adventure.

But later generations got to know the silver-haired actor primarily for his deadpan performances in comedies such as 1980's


and the

Naked Gun

trilogy, which ran from 1988 to 1994.

As Dr. Rumack in


, Nielsen was won fans among the younger generation for inane non sequiturs delivered with a straight face. "Can you fly this plane, and land it?," he asks a passenger. "Surely, you can't be serious," is his answer.

"I am serious, and don't call me Shirley," Rumack replies.

Nielsen also appeared in the 1996 spy spoof

Spy Hard

as Agent WD-40, and in 1998's

Wrongfully Accused

," a parody of

The Fugitive

." More recent acting roles included the 2003 Hollywood parody

Scary Movie 3

and its 2006 sequel.

But Nielsen also had a serious side. During the 1990s, he took to the stage in


, a one-man drama about legendary "attorney for the damned" Clarence Darrow.

First Published: Nov 29, 2010 12:00 IST