Leslie Nielsen

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File:Naked gun-drebin and queen.jpg
Nielsen as Frank Drebin finds himself in another awkward situation in The Naked Gun.

Leslie Nielsen, OC (born February 11, 1926 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) is a popular actor and comedian. Born of Danish and Welsh parentage, he studied at the Lorne Greene Academy of Radio Arts in Toronto before going to the United States.

He is perhaps best known for his broad comedy roles as Dr. Rumack in the 1980 film Airplane!, and Detective Frank Drebin, in Police Squad!. Finnish film critic Peter von Bagh has called Nielsen "the brilliant star of bad taste carnivals".

Contents

Early Roles

Initially Nielsen was a serious dramatic actor, appearing in such 1950s films as the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet and as the ship's captain in 1972's The Poseidon Adventure (his singing of the theme song for The Swamp Fox notwithstanding). Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s he was a staple television guest star, appearing countless times as a doctor, lawyer, or police official, and even in his own brief series The Bold Ones. With his serious demeanor and serious silver-haired appearance, he immediately lent gravitas to any drama he was in.

Breakthrough

It was this image that was comedically reversed in the 1980 film comedy Airplane!, so effectively that his career suddenly became one of starring in a succession of broad, kitchen sink comedies. These included Police Squad! and the subsequent The Naked Gun series and a large number of other spoofs and comedies. His movies have sent up disaster movies, hospital dramas, vampire and horror movies, action blockbusters, etc. He rarely played villains, but he did (as a violent "john"), for a change, in Nuts (a film based on an off-Broadway play) starring Oscar winners Barbra Streisand, Maureen Stapleton and Karl Malden, and also in one sequence of Creepshow.

Recent Work

He occasionally still performs serious roles on screen and stage (such as his one-man theatre show Darrow, playing Clarence Darrow), as well as providing voice-overs for commercials, cartoons (he stars as "Zeroman", whose lead character also resembles him), and children's shows, such as "Pumper Pups", which he narrates.

His brother, Erik Nielsen, is a former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. The sibling relationship serves as the premise of an HBO mockumentary entitled The Canadian Conspiracy in which Leslie Nielsen appears, along with other prominent Canadian born media personalities.

Achievements

Among his numerous awards, Leslie Nielsen has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6541 Hollywood Blvd, and has been inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. In 2002, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, although he is also a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Filmography

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In 2006 he is due to return to the big screen in Scary Movie 4, where he will reprise his role as President Harris.

Books

With author David Fisher, Nielsen wrote an autobiography in 1993 titled The Naked Truth. The book, however, is written in the slapstick style of his The Naked Gun series of films and describes itself as a work of fiction on the copyright page. The book is out-of-print.

Trivia

  • Nielsen played Lucas in the final episodes of The Golden Girls. In the series finale, his character married Dorothy (played by Bea Arthur).
  • For the past decade Nielsen has been almost totally deaf and uses hearing aids to assist him during filming. He also lip reads and of late has resorted to using cue cards. He has been seen doing commercial work endorsing hearing aids.
  • Can be heard on the band Boards of Canada's album "Geogaddi" on the song "Dandelion."
  • Can be heard narrating Katie and Orbie, Pumper Pups and Noel Noel.

External links

fr:Leslie Nielsen nl:Leslie Nielsen

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