Remembering Leslie Nielsen

By Heather Hughes

Nov 29, 2010

One of the most recognisable faces in American comedy, Leslie Nielsen, has died of pneumonia aged 84. The Police Squad! and later Naked Gun star, who graced our screens for 60 years, leaves some brilliant one-liners and classic moments behind. Here we honour him by sharing our favourites...

During the early stages of his career Nielsen took on serious roles. The most notable of these (that we can get footage for) is arguably as spaceship commander John J. Adams in the 1956 Shakespeare-inspired sci-fi romp Forbidden Planet, which--as you'll see in this trailer--he still managed to add a comedic touch to.

The straight-faced characters he played up until the 80s were a great contrast to the comedic roles you probably know and love now. Not only does this clip of Project: Kill (from 1976) show what a great range of talent Nielsen has, but it also makes his later-shown humour all the more amusing.

It wasn't until the 1980 movie Airplane!, where he played Doctor "don't call me Shirley" Rumack, that he became widely known for his witty flair and comic timing. It's also where he uttered some brilliant one-liners. Is your favourite in this clip?

Now, a lot of you are going to expect us to move on to Police Squad, but we're going to take a detour past the often forgotten Creepshow, because we love this clip.

OK, here comes Police Squad… the show may have only lasted six episodes (in 1982), but it was still packed full of laughs. The role of Detective Frank Drebin was written for Nielsen and he played it perfectly!

Nielsen played Drebin so well, in fact, that the show’s popularity warranted the Naked Gun movie spin-offs and the classic "nice beaver" line (among so many others).

What's your favourite Leslie Nielsen line? How will you remember him?

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  • kevrain Dec 02, 2010

    OK, Here's one for you...What about the Disney Series "Swamp Fox" in which I believe was Leslie Neilson's start to a great career

  • Arkayne90 Dec 02, 2010

    I don't remember Leslie Neilsen very well for the above films since I wasn't around at that time.. I'm a '90s kid, but I do remember him from "Mr. Magoo". Of course, not his best movie, but definitely what started me looking into more of his movies!

    Rest in Peace, Leslie.

  • KimberlyReese1 Nov 30, 2010

    I love it when he said dont call me shirley

  • maritimer00 Nov 29, 2010

    "...don't call me Shirley." - Nielsen's classic line from Airplane. So good in so many roles..could do the one liners and the physical comedy both. A Canadian legend that will be missed.

  • sodapopgirl721 Nov 29, 2010

    i also loved him in a movie thats not on here, a spoof from like ten years ago named wrongfully accused, hes so funny in it! also airplane. best ever

  • Lightningshire Nov 29, 2010

    I loved him in Due South! Absolutely brilliant actor! RIP Leslie.

  • bluecatcinema Nov 29, 2010

    RIP Leslie, you will be missed.

  • bluecatcinema Nov 29, 2010

    RIP Leslie, you will be missed