Actor Leslie Nielsen Dead

Monday, November 29, 2010 - 9:36am

HOLLYWOOD - Long-time actor Leslie Nielsen is dead.

"Surely you can't be serious."

He was responsible for one of the most-quoted lines in movie history.

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

For over 60 years, Leslie Nielsen delighted audiences, playing everything from romantic heroes to bumbling detectives, appearing in more than 100 films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career.

Nielsen came to Hollywood in the mid-1950s after performing in live television dramas in New York during an era known as "Television's Golden Age."

He started as a dramatic actor, playing leading roles in the films "Forbidden Planet" and "The Poseiden Adventure."

Then in 1980 he turned to comedy, becoming one of Hollywood's funniest leading men and never looked back.

"I was laughing at it myself. I really enjoyed it, but I never knew it was as funny as it really was. I went to see a screening and I hear people laughing. I'm in the scene and `What are they laughing at?' because I did not know. And I was doing things that were funny, but I couldn't see it."

Whether playing the hapless doctor in the 1980 classic "Airplane" or the accident prone detective, Frank Drebin, in the t.v. series "Police Squad" and subsequent Naked Gun movies, Nielsen became the master of the movie spoof.

His younger fans will remember him from the comedies Scary Movie 3 and 4 - where critics joked his full nudity scene put the "scary" in the movie.

And while his roots may have been in drama, there's no question that he was content with comedy being his lasting legacy.

"I think the epitaph should be, 'Let 'em Rip! (Fart) Excuse me!"

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