Photo of Leslie Nielsen
Leslie William Nielsen was a Canadian actor and comedian. Although Nielsenís acting career crossed a variety of genres in both television and movies, he achieved his greatest success in the comedies Airplane! and The Naked Gun series of films. His portrayal of serious characters unaware of their absurd surroundings gave Nielsen a reputation as a comedian. A series of later comedies attempted to emulate the popularity of his prior roles.
This paralleled the serious roles of his early career. A lead role in the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet and as the ship's captain in The Poseidon Adventure came long before Nielsen considered a turn to comedy. His deadpan delivery as a doctor in 1980ís Airplane! marked a turning point in Nielsenís career, one that would make him, in the words of movie critic Roger Ebert, "the Olivier of spoofs".