It is a sad day today, Leslie Nielsen, one of the funniest men in the past three generations, has passed away today following a battle with pneumonia.
Surrounded by his family and friends when he died at approximately 5:34am at Fort Lauderdale hospital in Florida where he was admitted twelve days earlier.
Leslie will be survived by his two daughters Maura Nielsen Kaplan and Thea Nielsen Disney.
Born on the eleventh of February 1926 in Saskatchewan Canada, Leslie was raised in a strict upbringing in Tulita. Leslie started out studying Radio arts before moving onto New York’s Playhouse to build his acting career. Starting out as a serious actor Leslie appeared in over one hundred television series and movies before landing himself the role of Dr Rumack in Flying High and later Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun series which determined the rest of his career as a comedian. Formerly been cast as a villain in various T.V series and T.V movies his delivery was cold and very solemn. In a strange twist of fate he was cast as the Doctor on board an ill fated airplane, this time however he was delivering witty lines in a comedy and being deemed hilarious for his dry delivery, Flying High became a cult classic with hundreds of memorable lines and gags. Always the joker on set in all of his productions, he would play practical jokes and make people laugh, who would know that behind that serious tone and deep bellowing voice would be a silly, outrageous and charming police detective ready to foil an attempt at royal assassination. I am speaking of course about The Naked Gun: Files from Police Squad.
Following the success of the T.V series Police Squad, The Naked Gun blew audiences away. No longer did we think of Leslie Nielsen as a serious man but as a fun and crazy person who would provide decades of entertainment for our parents, ourselves our children and everyone of all ages. He defied the Hollywood ideals of age in leading roles to become a believable and fallible hero who always got the girl, saves the day and demolished any scenario he encountered. Leslie will always be so greatly loved by those of all ages for being able to reach the inner child in us all.
I remember when I saw my first Leslie Nielsen movie. Flying High was the funniest thing I had ever seen and for weeks my dad, brother and I would be quoting the lines as much as we could and always find them hilarious. A few years later watching the naked gun movies I would find something in common with all my friends, they loved it and they couldn’t get enough. Even now in my twenties I will watch those movies with my friends and family and we will react the exact same way that we did when we were just ten year olds developing our sense of humour. Leslie just kept on going, appearing in any comedy movie that would instantly receive comedic recognition simply for his involvement. His last released movie being ‘Spanish Movie’ part of a series of sketch comedy movies aimed at making fun of different genres of cinema
Leslie brought his uniqueness to every movie he was involved in. He could hold our attention and make even the silliest gag seem hilarious to everyone. No one can deny he helped shape the modern conception of comedy and will always be a legend of that genre. I will miss seeing him in new movies but will always enjoy the ones he made so loved.
Rest in peace Leslie Nielsen.