Actor. Born Leslie William Nielsen, he was a World War II-era Royal Canadian Air Force veteran. He attended the Lorne Greene Academy of Radio Arts and Neighborhood Playhouse (New York City actor's training school) before beginning steady television work in the late 1940s. In the 1950s he began film work, with his role in the science fiction classic "Forbidden Planet" (1956) establishing him as a leading man. One of Nielsen's most memorable dramatic roles was the ship's captain in 1972's "The Poseidon Adventure". He fit perfectly with the producers' concept of dramatic actors doing comedy in 1980's "Airplane!", a spoof of disaster epics including "The Poseidon Adventure". As Dr. Rumack, he became an icon with deadpan exchanges, including "Surely you can't be serious?" "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley." In 1982 Nielsen attained stardom with a new generation in ABC's "Police Squad", a parody of television police dramas, reprising the role in the successful "Naked Gun" films. He remained active nearly until his death, with his final credit being a voice role in the flash animation "The Waterman Movie", which was pending release when he died.
Bio by: Bill McKern
"Let 'er rip"