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Leslie Nielsen Bio & Comedy Movie List

Updated on February 14, 2015

Nielsen as Frank Drebin


Leslie Nielsen sadly passed away in his sleep yesterday at 5.30pm, he had been admitted to Fort Lauderdale hospital for Pneumonia and was surrounded by loved ones when he died age 84.

Film Tributes

Leslie was born in 1926 and was best known for his slap stick comedy films and characters. In 1950 he had appeared in around 50 TV programmes although he still wasn't really known. Leslie first became known as a serious Actor after appearing in 'Forbidden Plannet' alongside Anne Francis back in 1956, this film was an instant success and many film roles soon followed.

In 1956 Leslie also starred in Ransom and The Opposite Sex.

In 1957 he starred in Hot Summer Night and then secured the lead role in Tammy and the Bachelor alongside Debbie Reynold, which showed Leslie as a handsome lead role.

Between 1959 and 1961, Leslie filmed eight episodes of Disney's The Swamp Fox where he played the part of a war hero Francis Marion.

In 1961 he was the lead role in a LA Police drama called The New Breed.

In 1964 he starred in his first television movie See how they Run where he played the part of Eliot Green.

Leslie Nielsen appeared in over 100 films throughout his career and more impressively he starred in over one and a half thousand tv productions.

One of his first memorable comedy roles came in 1980 when he played the part of Dr Rumack in hit film Airplane, It was in this film he was asked "Surely you can't be serious?" to which he replied "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley." This quote ended up being on the top 100 Movie quotes.

He wasn't really known as a comedy actor back then though and In 1980 Leslie appeared in the weird horror films Prom Night and Creep Show. And in 1987 he played the part of sleazy Allen Green who murders Claudia (Barbara Streisand) in the film Nuts.

In 1988 Leslie was the starring role in the movie Naked Gun, he played Lt Frank Drebin and was hilarious. The film became so popular that they followed it up with another two movies Naked Gun: The smell of fear and Naked Gun: The Final Insult. This is perhaps one of his more famous film roles.

He continued to do a series of comedy films, in 1990 he played the priest in Repossessed which took the mick out of The Exorcist. And in 1995 he played Count Dracula in the comedy film Dracula: Dead and Loving it. And in 1997 he played the star role in Mr Magoo as errrm Mr Magoo?!

His next big popular role was when he appeared in the 2003 hit Scary Movie 3 as President Harris, he was so popular in fact that he was asked back for Scary Movie 4 in 2006.

As well as the movies already listed Leslie Nielsen has starred in many others and portrayed over 220 characters throughout his career. R.I.P Leslie William Nielsen.

"I am serious, and don't call me Shirley."

— Leslie Nielsen

25 Great Frank Drebin Quotes (@PonAdidas)


Leslie Nielsen Bio

Leslie Nielsen was born in Canada on the 11th February 1926 to Mabel and Ingvard Nielsen. His Mother Mabel was a welsh immigrant and his Father, Ingvard was a police officer.

Acting clearly ran in the family, as Leslies Uncle 'Jean Hersholt' was a well known Actor. Leslie once said that he was sad his Uncle died before he was at the age where he could really get to know him. As a youngster, Leslie would brag about his Uncle and began to think that Acting could be a good career choice.

Leslie did not have a great home life growing up. His Father was very violent often beating his Mother and himself as well as his two Brothers. Leslie looked forward to the time when he could leave home. Sadly a childhood illness caused Leslie to be 'Legally Deaf' which resulted in him wearing hearing aids for most of his life.

Leslie went on to graduate age 17 and soon joined the Royal Canadian Air force. Due to his age, Lesley was too young to be sent overseas so instead he worked at a Calgary radio station and trained at an academy of radio arts.

Leslie later moved to New York when he was offered a scholarship studying music and theatre at the 'Neighbourhood Playhouse.' He then attended the 'Actors Studio' before making his first TV appearance in 1948 alongside Charlton Heston.

Leslie appeared in mostly TV roles to start with and despite appearing in 50 live programmes throughout 1950, he still wasn't well known. His average pay per show was a mere $75 to $100.

Leslie's acing career really began to take off when he was offered the chance to audition for a science fiction film 'Forbidden Planet.' The film was an instant success and Leslie signed a contract with MGM Studios. As he starred in many other film roles with MGM, his acting career got bigger.

However, Leslie decided that MGM was not right for him anymore, he seemed to get the same type of roles and was no longer happy with the films he was being offered. In 1959, after leaving MGM he was offered the lead role in the Disney series 'The Swamp Fox.'

Leslie went on to appear in many TV programmes, but he was still playing dramatic roles and not seen as a comedy actor at this time. That was until he played Dr Rumack in the 1980s film 'Airplane' It was in this film that Leslie delivered his famous quote. A quote that is still recorded in the top 100 movie quotes of all time.

Quote - "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley."

Airplane got a lot of praise and was voted the funniest comedy movie of all time in Empire magazine. In 2010, the film was selected for preservation in the 'National Film Registry' by the Library of Congress.

Leslie was now being seen as more deadpan comedy which pleased him no end, as this is what he had always aimed for. The directors of Airplane case Leslie in a TV series called 'Police Squad' where he played one of his most loved roles 'Frank Drebin.'

Six years after the TV series, Leslie returned to his role as Frank Drebin in the movie The Naked Gun: From the files of police squad. The film was a huge success and grossed over $78 million. The sequel was even more successful.

In 1980, Lesley played the role of Mr Hammond in slasher film 'Prom Night' alongside Jamie Lee Curtis. In 1982 he stared in another horror called 'Creepshow.'

Through the years, Leslie went on to star In many other films from the Spoof 'Repossessed' to Children's comedy 'Mr Magoo.'

In 1995, he starred as Dracula in the comedy/horror film Dracula: Dead and Loving It.

In 2003, he appeared in the popular movie 'Scary Movie 3' his role went down so well that he was asked back for 'Scary Movie 4.'

Leslie also went for the role of 'Willy Wonka' in the remake, but lost out to Johnny Depp.

Leslie was married 4 times and had 2 Daughters Maura and Thea. He loved to play Golf and to make people laugh. In November 2010, he got Pneumonia and was admitted to hospital. On the 28th November 2010, Leslie Nielsen sadly passed away in his sleep.

Feb 11th 1926 - Nov 28th 2010

"A true comedy legend"

Nielsen as Dracula


Leslie Nielsen Comedy Movie List

The Naked Gun 1
The Naked Gun 2
The Naked Gun 3
Dracula: Dead and Loving It!
Spy Hard
Mr Magoo
Safety Patrol
Santa Who?
2001: A Space Travesty
Men with Brooms
Scary Movie 3
Scary Movie 4
Superhero Movie
Big Fat Important Movie
Stan Helsing


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    • profile image

      Deon Albertyn 

      5 years ago

      I really enjoyed all his movies that I watched. I am also a great fan of Peter Sellers. I always thought that Leslie would revive the Pink Panther.Lots of my friends in South Africa will remember him for his comic roles, but I am now looking forward to watch his other works as well. R.I.P Leslie. Thanks for the endless laughs which will last forever.

    • profile image

      Ron Cox 

      5 years ago

      One of the most underrated actors ever, hands down. Greatly missed he is...R.I.P. Mr. Nielson.

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Our family also loved Leslie Neilson. As a fellow Canadian, it was wonderful to see our Country represented so well in many North American productions.

    • profile image

      dev d 

      7 years ago

      R.I.P leslie nielsen

    • zoey24 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from South England

      Thank you for stopping by Lady_E, he truly was a comedy legend :)

    • Lady_E profile image


      7 years ago from London, UK

      May he RIP. He was such a funny, great comedian and his legacy will live on through his movies.



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