Leslie Nielsen obituary

Canadian actor whose reputation was transformed by his deadpan comic persona in Airplane! and the Naked Gun series

Few people watching the career of the tall, husky and fair-haired Leslie Nielsen, who has died aged 84, could have predicted that the stolid actor who specialised in authority figures would become known as a comedy star after two and a half decades in show business. His reputation was transformed by playing Dr Rumack on board the threatened airliner in Airplane! (1980) and Frank Drebin, the hilariously inept plain-clothes cop, in three Naked Gun films.

What the writer-directors Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker saw in Nielsen, silvery grey and in his mid-50s, was his previously po-faced persona. "They spotted me for being what I really was, a closet comedian," he said. "And how lucky can you get? It's like they said to me, 'Leslie, come out and play.' Thank God for them.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

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