Leslie Nielsen, the veteran Canadian actor whose bumbling straight-man schtick made him one of Hollywood's funniest leading men in comedy, has died.
CJOB in Manitoba first posted audio Sunday night of Nielsen's nephew, Doug Nielsen, saying the actor died Sunday in a Florida hospital of pneumonia complications. His wife, actress Barbaree Earl Nielsen, and family were nearby.
Nielsen's family released a statement confirming his death: "We are saddened by the passing of beloved actor Leslie Nielsen, probably best remembered as Lt. Frank Drebin in 'The Naked Gun' series of pictures, but who enjoyed a more than 60-year career in motion pictures and television."
See slideshow: Leslie Nielsen, a Life in Spoof
Nielsen had a long career in TV drama and films before becoming an unlikely comedy star with the 1980 disaster-spoof hit "Airplane!" in which he played Dr. Rumack. The clueless doctor with a patrician air inspired the makers of "Airplane!" to bring Nielsen's newfound comedy schtick to the small screen with "Police Squad."
Thanks for all the great laughs.Though that show lasted only four episodes before being canceled, it won Nielsen an Emmy nomination and his role as Lt. Frank Drebin was reprised in film with "Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad." The final installment of the triloy, "Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear," debuted in 1991