Leslie Nielsen 1926 – 2010

By Michael Vass | November 28, 2010

While most people were either sleeping, watching football, or reheating some of the turkey still left over from the holiday, sad news was announced. Leslie Nielsen passed away at the prime age of 84.

Younger movie fans likely recall Nielsen from his comedic movies in recent years. But fans of older films will recall that Nielsen was a busy actor decades before his resurgence. And in those earlier films, he was anything but comical.

Back in the earlier years of the 60 year career of Nielsen, he was a dark-haired leading man of several drama, and sci-fi, films. In fact, Nielsen was the star in the classic sci-fi film Forbidden Planet. Observant movie fans will also recall him in the original Poseidon Adventure (1972). But there is no question that his most popular character has to have been that of Detective Frank Drebin of the Police Squad (of movies and televisions show of the same title).

One of the things that most are unaware of wasa the fact that Nielsen was deaf (he wore hearing aides) and was a member of the Canadian Royal Air Force (at 17). Yes he was Canadian. And grew up 200 miles south of the Artic Circle.

While Leslie Nielsen was most successful in his comedic roles, he continued to perform in serious roles (mostly on stage) as he had at the start of his career.

Far too often Hollywood places actors into a typecast box, never changing the mold unless the actor get so popular they can take on projects they prefer or they get old enough that Hollywood tosses them away. Leslie Nielsen proved that niether age, nor the tunnel vision of Hollywood, could restrict his ability to provide audiences the entertainment they craved. For an actor, what else could be more of a compliment?

Our condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Nielsen.

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