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Entertainment Earth

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Entertainment Earth

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"Nice beaver!"

- as Frank Drebin from The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)

LESLIE NIELSEN

While in Winnipeg, Canada, to promote their movie Men with Brooms (2002), he and co-star Paul Gross received Honorary Citizenships from Winnipeg Mayor Glen Murray at the Granite Curling Club.

Leslie Nielsen, (February 11th 1926 - November 28th 2010). Nielsen was a Canadian and naturalized American actor and comedian and appeared in more than one hundred films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career, portraying more than 220 characters.

Nielsen was born in Regina, Saskatchewan on February 11th 1926. Nielsens' mother, Mabel Elizabeth (née Davies), was a Welsh immigrant, and his father, Ingvard Eversen Nielsen, was a Danish-born Constable in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Nielsen had two brothers; his older brother, Erik Nielsen (1924–2008), was Deputy Prime Minister of Canada from 1984 to 1986. Ingvard was a troubled man who beat his wife and sons, and Leslie longed to escape. As soon as he graduated from high school at 17, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, even though he was legally deaf (he wore hearing aids most of his life).

After the Air Force Nielsen worked as a disc jockey before receiving a scholarship to Neighborhood Playhouse.

His half-uncle, Jean Hersholt, was an actor best known for his portrayal of Dr. Christian in the long-running radio series of the same name and the subsequent television series and films and inspired him to become an actor, making his television debut in 1948, he quickly expanded to over 50 television appearances two years later.

Nielsen made his film debut in 1956, and began collecting his roles in dramas, westerns, and romance films between the 1950s and the 1970s. Nielsen's performance in the films Forbidden Planet and The Poseidon Adventure received positive reviews as a serious actor, for which he was primarily known until Airplane!

Nielsen's supporting role in 1980's Airplane! was a major watershed in his career. The ethos of the movie, a parody of dramatic disaster films such as Zero Hour! and Airport, is largely based on building a comedy around actors who were then known exclusively for their dramatic roles (other stars included Robert Stack, Peter Graves, and Lloyd Bridges). Nielsen was the movie's linchpin, his deadpan delivery contrasting with the continual absurdity surrounding him. When asked, "Surely you can't be serious?", he responds with a curt, "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley." The comedic exchange was at #79 on the American Film Institute's AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes. The American Film Institute also included the film in its list of the top ten comedy films of all time.

For Nielsen, Airplane! marked a shift from dramatic roles to a new focus on deadpan comedy. When it was suggested that his role in Airplane! was against type, Nielsen protested that he had "always been cast against type before," and that comedy was what he always really wanted to do. The directors, interested in the success of the new comedy, decided to bring a similar style of comedy to television, casting Nielsen in the lead role in their new series, Police Squad!. The series introduced Nielsen as Frank Drebin, the stereotypical police officer modeled after serious characters in earlier police TV series.

Police Squad's opening sequence was based on the 1950s cop show M Squad, (which starred Lee Marvin), which opened with footage of a police car roving through an after-dark urban setting with a big band playing a jazz theme song in the background. The voice-over and the show's organization into "acts" with an epilogue was homage to Quinn Martin police dramas including The Fugitive, The Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones, The F.B.I., and Cannon. Much like in Airplane!, Nielsen portrayed a serious character whose one-liners appeared accidental next to the pratfalls and sight gags around him. Although the show was quickly canceled, lasting only six episodes after being juggled between time slots, Nielsen received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Six years after the cancellation of Police Squad!, its directors decided to make a feature length version for theaters. Titled The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!. The film returned Nielsen to his role as Frank Drebin and spawned two sequels and dozens of classic Drebin movie quotes like:

Frank:
It’s the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girl dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Jane:
Goodyear?

Frank:
No, the worst.

(Looking up at Jane as she stands on a ladder.)
Frank:
Nice beaver!

Jane:
Thanks, I just had it stuffed.
(Camera pans back to reveal a stuffed beaver on a shelf hehind Jane.)

Nielsen continued acting well into his 80's appearing in a variety of roles and was inducted into the Canada and Hollywood Walks of Fame. He was awarded an OC (Officer of the Order of Canada) by the Governor General of Canada on October 10th, 2002 for his services to entertainment. Married four times Nielsen had two daughters from his second marriage, Maura and Thea Nielsen.

    Selected Leslie Neilsen TVography

227
- A Letter to the President (1985)

Actor's Studio
- Telas, the King (1950)
- Hannah (1950)

The Alfred Hitchcock Hour
- The Magic Shop (1964)

Alfred Hitchcock Presents
- Ambition (1961)
- The $2,000,000 Defense (1958)

Aloha Paradise
- Sydney's First Love/The Swingers/The King of Gardens (1981)

Armstrong Circle Theatre
- The Beard (1953)
- A Story to Whisper (1953)
- Candle in a Bottle (1953)
- For Worse (1952)
- The Man in 308 (1952)
- Flame-Out (1951)
- Lover's Leap (1951)

Assignment Vienna
- The Last Target (1972)

Backstairs at the White House
- as Chief Usher Ike Hoover (TV Mini-Series 1970)

Barnaby Jones
- The Killing Defense (1973)

Bearcats!
- The Big Guns (1971)

Ben Casey
- War of Nerves (1965)

The Big Valley
- Town of No Exit (1969)

The Big Story
- Bert Murray of the Los Angeles Daily News (1953)

Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre
- Code Name: Heraclitus - Part 1 and 2 (1967)
- Guilty or Not Guilty (1966)
- When Hell Froze (1966)

The Bold Ones: The New Doctors
- And Other Springs I May Not See (1973)

The Bold Ones: The Protectors
- as officer Sam Danforth (7 episodes 1969 - 1970)

Bonanza
- The Unseen Wound (1967)

Bracken's World
- series regular as John Bracken (1970)

CBS Television Workshop
- My Eyes Have a Cold Nose (1952)

Cannon
- The Man Who Died Twice (1975)
- The Man Who Couldn't Forget (1974)
- Valley of the Damned (1973)

Cimarron Strip
- The Beast That Walks Like a Man (1967)

Channing
- Exercise in a Shark Tank (1963)

Chilly Beach
- Secret Santa (2003)

The Chisholms
-The Suitor (TV Mini-Series 1980)

The Clock
- Prescription for Death (1950)
- A Grave Plot (1950)

Columbo
- Identity Crisis (1975)
- Lady in Waiting (1971)

Convoy
- Sink U-116! (1965)

Daniel Boone
- Mountain of the Dead (1964)

Danger
- Never Come Home (1954)
- The Psychological Error (1953)
- Missing Night (1953)
- Boomerang (1952)

Day by Day
- Harper and Son (1988)

The Defenders
- Death on Wheels (1965)

Disneyland
- The Boy Who Flew with Condors (Narrator, 1967)
- as Col. Francis Marion on The Swamp Fox (1959 - 1961)

Dr. Kildare
- Aftermath (1965)
- Hour of Decision (1965)
- A Little Child Shall Lead (1965)
- Wives and Losers (1965)
- Toast the Golden Couple (1965)
- The Life Machine (1965)
- She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not: Part 1 and 2 (1965)
- Do You Trust Your Doctor? (1965)

Due South
- Call of the Wild: Part 1 and 2 (1999)
- All the Queen's Horses (1996)
- Manhunt (1994)

The Evil Touch
- The Voyage (1974)
- The Obituary (1973)

The F.B.I.
- Fools Gold (1973)
- Pound of Flesh (1965)

Fantasy Island
- PlayGirl/Smith's Valhalla (1980)
- Seance/Treasure (1979)
- Superstar/Salem (1978)

The Farmer's Daughter
- Steve, Boy Bohemian (1966)

Finder of Lost Loves
- Aftershocks (1985)

First Performance
- Panic at Parth Bay (1958)

Flesh 'n' Blood
- The Wrath of Con (1991)

The Fugitive
- Tiger Left, Tiger Right (1964)
- Glass Tightrope (1963)

General Electric Theater
- Journal of Hope (1960)
- Nora (1959)

The Golden Girls
- One Flew Out of the Cuckoo's Nest (1992)

Goodyear Television Playhouse
- The Rumor (1953)
- Crown of Shadows (1952)
- October Story (1951)

Goodyear Theatre
- Any Friend of Julie's (1959)

Gunsmoke
- Time of the Jackals (1969)

Hawaii Five-O
- We Hang Our Own (1974)
- Cocoon: Part 1 (1969)
- Pilot (1968)

Herman's Head
- God, Girls and Herman (1993)

Highway to Heaven
- The Gift of Life (1987)

Hotel
- Crossroads (1985)

Ironside
- The Over-the-Hill Blues (1974)

The Islanders
- Willy's Millionaire (1961)

It Takes a Thief
- A Thief Is a Thief (1968)

Judd for the Defense
- The Deep End (1967)

Justice
- The Blackmailer (1954)

Katie and Orbie
- The Circus/Chance and the Bird Bath/The Bathtub Race (Narrator 1995)

Kojak
- Loser Takes All (1974)

Kraft Suspense Theatre
- The Green Felt Jungle (1965)

Kraft Television Theatre
- The Scarlet Letter (1954)
- A Kiss for Cinderella (1952)
- Of Famous Memory (1951)
- The Best Years (1951)
- The Luck of Guldeford (1950)
- The Fourth Step (1950)

Kung Fu
- Full Circle (1975)
- The Brothers Caine (1975)
- Flight to Orion (1975)
- Barbary House (1975)

Lights Out
- Death Trap (1952)
- Mrs. Manifold (1951)
- The Lost Will of Dr. Rant (1951)
- A Child Is Crying (1950)

Liocracy
- as Terrence Brynne McKennie (host 2001)

The Littlest Hobo
- Romiet and Julio (1980)

The Loner
- The Kingdom of McComb (1965)

The Love Boat
- Ages of Man/Bo 'n Sam/Families (1979)
- A Selfless Love/The Nubile Nurse/Parents Know Best (1978)
- Dear Beverly/The Strike/Special Delivery (1977)

Love Story
- The Good Morrow (1954)

Lucan
- The Search (1977)

Lucas Tanner
- Requiem for a Son (1975)

M*A*S*H
- The Ringbanger (1973)

The Magnavox Theatre
- Lightnin' (1950)

The Man Behind the Badge
- The Case of the Yankee II (1954)
- The Ohio State Prison Story (1954)

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
- The Seven Wonders of the World Affair: Part 1 and 2 (1968)

The Manhunter
- Jackknife (1974)

Medallion Theatre
- Twenty-Four Men in a Plane (1953)

Medical Center
- Conspiracy (1971)

The Mod Squad
- Deal with the Devil (1972)

Moment of Fear
- Total Recall (1960)

Monty Nash
- The Hunting License (1971)

Murder, She Wrote
- Dead Man's Gold (1986)
- My Johnny Lies Over the Ocean (1985)

Naked City
- Down the Long Night (1960)

The Name of the Game
- The Other Kind of Spy (1970)

The New Breed
- series star as Lt. Price Adams (1962)

Night Gallery
- A Question of Fear (1971)
- Phantom of What Opera? (1971)

The Nurses
- The Warrior (1964)

Odd Job Jack
- Jack Ryder Goes to War (2005)

Out There
- Susceptibility (1951)

Peyton Place
- as Kenneth Markham (18 episodes 1965)

The Philco Television Playhouse
- The Sisters (1951)
- The Touch of a Stranger (1950)

Playdate
- Power by Proxy (1962)

Playhouse 90
- The Velvet Alley (1959)
- The Right Hand Man (1958)

Police Squad!
- Testimony of Evil (Dead Men Don't Laugh) (1982)
- Rendezvous at Big Gulch (Terror in the Neighborhood) (1982)
- Revenge and Remorse (The Guilty Alibi) (1982)
- The Butler Did It (A Bird in the Hand) (1982)
- Ring of Fear (A Dangerous Assignment) (1982)
- A Substantial Gift (The Broken Promise) (1982)

Race for the Bomb
- as Lewis Strauss (TV Mini-Series 1897)

Rawhide
- Incident Below the Brazos (1959)

The Ray Bradbury Theater
- Marionettes, Inc. (1985)

The Red Skelton Show
- Red Skelton Christmas Show (1970)

Robert Montgomery Presents
- End of a Mission (1954)

Robson Arms
- All About Kitty (2007)
- Saultology (2007)
- Ordinary Assholes (2007)

The Rookies
- S.W.A.T. (2hr Pilot) (1975)

Route 66
- Poor Little Kangaroo Rat (1962)
- A Fury Slinging Flame (1960)

Run for Your Life
- The Last Safari (1966)

Shaping Up
- Mixed Nuts (1984)
- I Should Have Danced All Night (1984)
- Defusing the Muse (1984)
- Ex Pede Hercuelum (1984)
- Baby Be Mine (1984)

Short Short Dramas
- The Diary (1952)

The Streets of San Francisco
- One Last Shot (1974)
- Before I Die (1973)
- Legion of the Lost (1973)

S.W.A.T.
- The Running Man: Part 1 and 2 (1976)

Sarge
- The Silent Target (1971)

Stage 13
- Never Murder Your Grandfather (1950)

Starlight Theatre
- The Magic Wire (1951)

Studio One
- The Man Who Owned the Town (1954)
- A Guest at the Embassy (1954)
- Castle in Spain (1954)
- Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1954)
- Dark Possession (1954)
- The Hospital (1952)
- The Case of Karen Smith
- The Last Cruise (1950)
- Spectre of Alexander Wolff (1950)
- Zone Four (1950)
- The Survivors (1950)
- Battleship Bismark (1949)

Suspense
- The Black Prophet (1953)
- Death Sabre (1951)
- The Foggy Night Visitor (1951)
- The Brush Off (1950)
- The Second Class Passenger (1950)
- Roman Holiday (1950)

Sure As Fate
- The Devil Takes a Bride (1951)

Swiss Family Robinson
- The Slave Ship (1975)

Tales of Tomorrow
- Ghost Writer (1953)
- Another Chance (1953)
- Appointment on Mars (1952)
- Black Planet (1952)
- Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1952)

The Trap
- Sentence of Death (1950)

The Untouchables
- Three Thousand Suspects (1960)

Vega$
- Doubtful Target (1979)

The Virginian
- The Long Ride Home (1969)
- The Fortress (1967)
- No Drums, No Trumpets (1966)
- The Laramie Road (1965)
- Ryker (1964)

Thriller
- The Twisted Image (1960)

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
- The Creature (1965)

Wagon Train
- The Brian Conlin Story (1964)
- The Jeremy Dow Story (1960)

The Web
- The Leech (1953)
- Deadlock (1952)
- After the Fact (1952)
- You Killed Elizabeth (1951)
- Home for Christmas (1950)

The Wild Wild West
- The Night of the Double-Edged Knife (1965)

What Really Happened to the Class of '65?
- Class Underachiever (1978)

Who's the Boss?
- Marry Me, Mona (1988)
- Just Mona and Me (1987)

Zeroman
- as voice of Zeroman (animated 14 episodes 2004-2005)

    Selected Leslie Nielsen Filmography

1955

The Battle of Gettysburg

1956

Ransom!

Forbidden Planet

The Vagabond King

The Opposite Sex

1957

Hot Summer Night

Tammy and the Bachelor

1958

The Sheepman

1964

See How They Run

Night Train to Paris

1965

Dark Intruder

Harlow

1966

The Plainsman

Beau Geste

1967

Code Name: Heraclitus

The Reluctant Astronaut

Gunfight in Abilene

Rosie!

1968

How to Steal the World

Counterpoint

Dayton's Devils

Companions in Nightmare

1969

Trial Run

Deadlock

How to Commit Marriage

Change of Mind

1970

Night Slaves

The Aquarians

Hauser's Memory

1971

Incident In San Francisco

Four Rode Out

They Call It Murder

1972

The Poseidon Adventure

1973

...And Millions Die!

Snatched

Amanda Fallon

The Return of Charlie Chan

1975

Can Ellen Be Saved

Threshold: The Blue Angels Experience

1976

Grand Jury

Project Kill

Brinks: The Great Robbery

1977

Sixth and Main

Day of the Animals

Viva Knievel!

The Kentucky Fried Movie

The Amsterdam Kill

1978

Little Mo

1979

Institute for Revenge

The Albertans

Riel

City on Fire

1980

OHMS

Airplane!

Prom Night

1981

A Choice of Two

1982

Twilight Theater

Foxfire Light

Wrong Is Right

Creepshow

1983

Prime Time

The Night the Bridge Fell Down

Cave-In!

The Creature Wasn't Nice

1985

Murder Among Friends

Reckless Disregard

Blade in Hong Kong

Striker's Mountain

1986

The Patriot

Soul Man

1987

Nightstick

Nuts

Home Is Where the Hart Is

1988

Dangerous Curves

The Railway Dragon (animated, narator)

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

1990

Repossessed

1991

All I Want for Christmas

The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear

Chance of a Lifetime

1993

Digger

Surf Ninjas

1994

S.P.Q.R.: 2,000 and a Half Years Ago

Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult

1995

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree

Rent-a-Kid

Dracula: Dead and Loving It

1996

Spy Hard

1997

Mr. Magoo

1998

Safety Patrol

Family Plan

Harvey

Wrongfully Accused

2000

Santa Who?

2001: A Space Travesty

2001

Camouflage

Kevin of the North (Chilly Dogs)

2002

Men with Brooms

2003

Scary Movie 3

Noel Noel (narator)

2006

Scary Movie 4

2007

Music Within

2008

Superhero Movie

An American Carol

Slap Shot 3: The Junior League

2009

Spanish Movie

Stan Helsing

2011

Stonerville

    Leslie Nielsen links

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