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Leslie Nielsen

Nielsen in October 2008
Personal information
Birth nameLeslie William Nielsen
Birth date11 February 1926
Place of birthRegina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Date of death28 November 2010(age 84)
Death placeFort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Cause of deathPneumonia
EducationVictoria Composite High School
Alma materLorne Greene Academy of Radio Arts, Toronto
Years active1948 2010
Notable worksAirplane!
The Naked Gun
SpouseMonica Boyar (1950 1956)
Alisande Ullman (1958 1973)
Brooks Oliver (1981 1983)
Barbaree Earl (2001 2010)
RelativesErik Nielsen (brother)
Jean Hersholt (half-uncle)

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Leslie William Nielsen, OC (11 February 1926 - 28 November 2010) was a Canadian and naturalized American actor and comedian. Nielsen appeared in more than one hundred films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career, portraying more than 220 characters. Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Nielsen enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and worked as a disc jockey before receiving a scholarship to Neighborhood Playhouse. Making his television debut in 1948, he quickly expanded to over 50 television appearances two years later. Nielsen made his film debut in 1956, and began collecting roles in dramas, westerns, and romance films. Nielsen's performances in the films Forbidden Planet (1956) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972) received positive reviews as a serious actor, though he is primarily known for his comedic roles.

Although Nielsen's acting career crossed a variety of genres in both television and films, his deadpan delivery in Airplane! (1980) marked a turning point in his career, one that would make him, in the words of film critic Roger Ebert, "the Olivier of spoofs." Nielsen enjoyed further success with The Naked Gun film series (1988 - 1994), based on a short-lived television series Police Squad! in which he starred earlier. His portrayal of serious characters seemingly oblivious to (and complicit in) their absurd surroundings gave him a reputation as a comedian. In the final years of his career, Nielsen appeared in multiple spoof and parody films, many of which were met poorly by critics, but performed well in box office and home media releases. Nielsen married four times and had two daughters from his second marriage. He was recognized with a variety of awards throughout his career, and was inducted into the Canada and Hollywood Walks of Fame.

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