Leslie Nielsen has died at the age of 84 from complications of pneumonia. Nielsen is best known for his comic acting, something he arrived at in later years. But once he was better known for more serious roles.
For those of us of a certain age, Leslie Nielsen is best regarded for the role of Commander J.J. Adams, who captained a star ship in the classic film “Forbidden Planet,” which came out in 1956. Based rather loosely on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” “Forbidden Planet” is still well-praised for being intelligent science fiction in an era when such was very rare indeed.
Walter Pidgeon played a scientist who had studied an alien technology far too thoroughly, with disastrous results. Anne Francis was his lovely and somewaht socially unschooled daughter. The movie also featured Robby the Robot as a character.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Nielsen appeared as a guest star in television shows almost too numerous to be mentioned. Looking at his career, it seemed that if something aired during those two decades, Nielsen appeared on it at one time or another.
In 1972, the actor appeared as the Captain of the ill-fated SS Poseidon in the Irwin Allen disaster movie “The Poseidon Adventure,” about a cruise ship that is turned upside down by a giant tsunami and of the adventures of a handful of survivors trying to get out. Nielsen ‘s character is killed practically in the first reel.
Leslie Nielsen ‘s career started to take a comic turn when he appeared as a doctor in the surreal parody of Airplane disaster films, “Airplane!” With his absurd-but-deadpan dialogue, Nielsen showed that he had perfect timing to deliver laugh lines in abundance. (“And don’t call me Shirley.”) He would reprise the role in a sequel.
Nielsen was to create a classic role as the stumbling, bumbling detective in the short-run series “Police Squad!,” known as much for its sight gags as for the star’s dry humor. The series was spun off into “The Naked Gun” series of movies.
While Nielsen still did the occasional dramatic role as a guest star on a TV series, he became more and more known as a comic actor. He played Dracula in Mel Brooks’ last film, “Dracula: Dead and Loving It.”
As Nielsen grew older, many of his comedies became more and more forgettable, churned out in a hurry to try to capitalize on his talent without taking the time to do good jokes. Typical of this era was “American Carol,” the noble but failed attempt to do conservative satire. It was a somewhat sad finish to a career that included not only great comedy, but awe-inspiring drama. But we remember Leslie Nielsen for “Forbidden Planet” and “Airplane!” best of all.
Source: Leslie Nielsen, IMDB