Leslie Nielsen, best remembered for his role as Frank Drebin and his deadpan delivery in Airplane!, died Sunday near his Ft. Lauderdale home of natural causes. He was 84. Nielsen is known for his work with the Zucker-Abrams-Zucker comedy team in the Naked Gun series, in addition to legions of other spoofs such as Spy Hard and Superhero Movie.
Nielsen’s lesser well known roles span the nearly thirty-year career he had as a leading man in movies, including the classic Forbidden Planet, and dozens of guest-starring roles on television, portraying over 220 characters in his career. Airplane! relaunched him, as his straight-faced and literal Dr. Rumack showed a comedic side he had never displayed before.
He had worked with the ZAZ team from the very beginning: he has a small cameo in their first film, The Kentucky Fried Movie, as a film patron. In addition to his onscreen acting, he played serious roles on stage and did voiceovers for multiple children’s cartoons, including Zeroman and Pumper Pups and supported charities such as the Better Hearing Institute.
Nielsen is survived by his wife, Barbaree Earl and his daughters, Maura and Thea. The ScreenCrave team would like to offer our condolences to his family.
R.I.P. Leslie Nielsen