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29/11/2010

Film And TV Great Nielsen Exits Stage

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Leslie Nielsen, the veteran Canadian actor whose bumbling made him one of Hollywood's funniest leading men in comedy, has died of pneumonia complications while battling a staph infection at 84.
The infection is a bacterium that can range from minor skin infections such as pimples, boils, and cellulites, to much more serious and life threatening illnesses such as pneumonia, meningitis, septicema, osteomyelitis, and endocarditis.
Nielsen had been in a Florida hospital for 12 days and he succumbed on Sunday afternoon to complications with pneumonia.
Nielsen's family released a statement confirming his death: "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 had a long career in TV drama and films before becoming an unlikely comedy star with the 1980 disaster-spoof hit Airplane! in which he played Dr. Rumack.
The clueless doctor with a patrician air inspired the makers of "Airplane!" to bring Nielsen's newfound comedy schtick to the small screen with Police Squad.
Though that show lasted only four episodes before being canceled, it won Nielsen an Emmy nomination and his role as Lt. Frank Drebin was reprised in film with Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad. The final instalment of the triloy, Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear, debuted in 1991.
Nielsen was born in 1926 in Saskatchewan, Canada. His father was a Canadian policeman, mountie and a strict disciplinarian and his mother Welsh; one of his brothers became deputy prime minister of Canada.
He is survived by two daughters, Thea and Maura, whom he had with Sandy Ullman, his second wife.
Nielsen had 50 films to his credit and many more TV roles and had just produced Stonerville and was doing voiceover work on The Waterman Movie, which is still in production.
(BMcC/GK)
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