Comedy Legend Nielsen Dies

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November 29, 2010 | 3:15am EST

Comic actor Leslie Nielsen has died of complications from pneumonia. He was 84.
The Canadian star passed away surrounded by his family at a hospital near his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Sunday.

A statement from the star’s relatives reads, “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.”

Nielsen trained with the Royal Canadian Air Force as a teenager before switching careers to pursue acting.

His first role came in 1956 when he appeared in crime drama Ransom! and he enjoyed huge success on both the big and small screen.

The star appeared in Airplane!, his first comedy movie, in 1980 and went on to become most famous for his roles in spoofs, including The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! in 1988 and two sequels in the 1990s.

In more recent years, the actor appeared in festive favourite Santa Who? and Scary Movie 3 and 4, with his last role being in 2009’s Stan Helsing.

Nielsen picked up many top accolades during his six-decade long career – in 1988, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 2001 he was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. The following year he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

He is survived by his fourth wife Barbaree Earl and two children, Maura and Thea, from his second marriage to Alisande Ullman.