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    November 29, 2010

    LESLIE NIELSEN R.I.P. (1926-2010)


    Not many fans of this generation may remember him but ask your parents who was the biggest star that turned movie franchises like Airplane! or Naked Gun into  a popular cult. Of course, they may tell you it was this special comedian, Leslie Nielsen that has been so fondly comedic, absurdly mesmerizing.

    Leslie William Nielsen, a Canadian born actor has passed away on 28 November (or 4.30 AM Malaysian time today) at a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida hospital, according to his agent John S. Kelly and his nephew Doug Nielsen. He died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 84.

    Born on February 11, 1926 in Saskatchewan, Canada, Nielsen began his first acting career in small screen during the 50's. Then, he was landed he lead role as Commander John J Adams in his subsequent movie, The Forbidden Planet, which proved to be a successful movie for MGM. He continued in several serious, action and dramatic themed movies like 1968's How To Steal The World, 1972's The Poseidon Adventure and 1979's City On Fire.

    Nielsen's comedic breakthrough came with a supporting role in 1980's Airplane!, a parody of Zero Hour!, Airport, and other movies that dealt with air travel. In Airplane! his deadpan delivery contrasted with the continual absurdity surrounding him. In the film when asked, "Surely you can't be serious?", he responds with a curt, "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley."

    He then acted in one of those popular comedic action franchise, The Naked Gun. The first installment entitled The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, the film returned Nielsen to his role as Frank Drebin. The film involved a comical scheme of a ruthless drug kingpin to use hypnosis in an attempt to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II. The Naked Gun franchise while not well-received among the critics, are one of those that defines Nielsen as a slapstick absurd comedian.

    In a statement by his nephew, Doug Nielsen, as reported in the Vancouver Sun:
    He passed away today at 5:30 p.m. in Fort Lauderdale. He had been in the hospital with pneumonia for the past 12 days, and in the last 48 hours it just got worse. This afternoon, surrounded by family, his wife and friends, he basically just fell asleep. It was very peaceful.
    With a career spanning over 5 decades, Nielsen has appeared in more than 100 movies, with the star shining perhaps most brightly in comedies including Airplane! and The Naked Gun.

    SOURCE: Coming Soon, Vancouver Sun
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