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Actor Leslie Nielsen dies

Bryan Alaspa's picture

The man many knew as Lt. Frank Drebin from the “Naked Gun” movies has died at the age of 84. Nielsen was known for his comedic roles in movies like “Airplane!” and the “Naked Gun” series. He died from complication due to pneumonia.

Serious actor turned to comedy

Nielsen did not start out to be a comedic actor. In fact, he starred in a number of serious roles when he first entered acting. One of his most famous early roles is in the science fiction classic “Forbidden Planet.” He also had serious roles in movies like “Ransom!” and “Creepshow.” He also had numerous television roles.

However, things changed for him when the Zucker and Abrams crew approached him to star in the airplane disaster spoof “Airplane!” The movie was a parody of “Zero Hour!” and starred a number of actors who had, previously, been known for their serious dramatic work. The movie is now considered a movie comedy classic. Nielsen played the role of the doctor.

With the success of “Airplane!” the same crew decided to go to television. It was here that Nielsen would play what would become his career-defining role. “Police Squad!” was not a tremendous success on television but the character of bumbling Lt. Frank Drebin” became a television icon. He was eventually brought back for three movies that became known as the “Naked Gun” series.

A statement from his family, released today, confirmed that he died on Sunday. The cause of death was listed as complications due to pneumonia. He was surrounded by his wife and friends and near Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

His family asked that fans make a donation to their favorite charity in Nielsen’s name rather than send flowers.

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