Famed comic actor Leslie Nielsen died Sunday at a Florida hospital. He was 84. Don’t call him Shirley.
The Canadian-born actor is best known for his roles in the films Airplane! and The Naked Gun trilogy. The part in Airplane! proved to be pivotal for Nielsen, who had at that time built his career on dramatic roles. Airplane! provided an introduction for Nielsen as a comic force, as well as one of the most famous movie quotes of all time:
Robert Hays: “Surely you can’t be serious?”
Nielsen: “I am serous. And don’t call me Shirley.”
Nielsen’s career stretched over six decades. He got his start performing on live television in New york. He came to Hollywood in the mid-1950s and began working in film. His early work included Forbidden Planet, Tammy and the Bachelor with Debbie Reynolds, and most notably a role as ship captain in The Poseidon Adventure.
Nielsen’s more recent films include Spy Hard, Dracula: Dean d and Loving It, and Mr. Magoo.