Monday, November 29, 2010
Leslie Nielsen, 1926-2010. R.I.P.
“I am dead... and don’t call me Shirley.”
Canadian-born actor Leslie Nielsen, who successfully managed an unlikely career transition from the serious to the ridiculous, died Sunday at the age of 84.
Nielsen, the son of a Mountie, began acting in various television roles as early as 1950 and moved to the Big Screen in 1956; one of his first roles was that of Commander J. J. Adams in the SF classic Forbidden Planet. He was a fine straight actor, often playing the heavy... but when he was cast as Dr. Rumack in Airplane!, a 1980-vintage parody of the then-popular disaster movie genre, his statesmanlike looks were coupled with a completely daffy character to create a comedy sensation. That role, along with his appearances as Detective Frank Drebin in Police Squad! (a short-lived TV series that became a successful movie franchise), showcased Nielsen’s considerable comedic talents and turned his Serious Acting career on its head.
Leslie Nielsen was living proof that you can reinvent yourself... with panache. He will be sorely missed.