FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Actor Leslie Nielsen, star of such comedies as "Airplane" and the "Naked Gun" series, died Sunday of complications from pneumonia, a nephew told a Canadian radio station. Nielsen was 84.
Nielsen died in hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale with family and friends by his side, nephew Doug Nielsen told CJOB radio in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Nielsen, a native of Regina, Saskatchewan, had been hospitalized for nearly two weeks, his nephew told CJOB. Nielsen's agent, John S. Kelly, confirmed his death.
Nielsen came to Hollywood in the mid-1950s after performing in 150 live television dramas in New York. With a craggily handsome face, blond hair and 6-foot-2 height, he seemed ideal for a movie leading man.
He quickly became known as a serious actor, although behind the camera he was a prankster. That was an aspect of his personality never exploited, however, until "Airplane!" was released in 1980 and became a huge hit.
The actor also had major roles in such films as "The Poseidon Adventure" and "Forbidden Planet" and appeared in many later television shows, including the cult hit "Police Squad."