Leslie Nielsen, RIP


Canadian-born comedy actor Leslie Nielsen died today of complications from pneumonia, at age 84. Many Boing Boing readers will know him best as the star of eighties schlock-LOL films such as Airplane and The Naked Gun, but man, he was so great in the (very brief) 1982 TV series Police Squad, on which Naked Gun was based. And the awesome 1956 science fiction film Forbidden Planet. Many embeds follow.

Goodbye, Mr. Nielsen. You were one of the greats.



  1. Very funny man and a great comedian. His great films were great, and the rest of his films were under-rated.

    Read his biography back in high school…. it was pretty funny too (and mostly made up I thinK)

  2. Proof that there are second acts.

    Nielsen had a lot of fun and gave us a lot of laughs in his Act II.

    I think the Naked Gun movies were OK, but overrated; it was the original Naked Gun TV show that showed us Frank Drebin at his deadpan best.

  3. Don’t forget the really great dramatic roles. Even after the parody films, he was chilling as the rapist whom Barbra Striesand whacks in “Nuts”.

  4. [I’m frozen in position as his obituary trails up the screen. When can I move? My legs are getting numb.]

  5. Nielson’s dad was a mountie.

    His brother Eric was Yukon’s federal member of parliament for many years. So Whitehorse International Airport is named Eric Nielson. I’ve always hoped this amused Leslie as much as it does me!

  6. Sad to see he has left us.

    He got into comedy late in life, playing mostly serious drama roles in his early film career.

    A Canadian that brought lots of laughs to people around the world.

    He survived working with OJ Simpson and made out with Elvis’s wife, he is in one of the classic funny movies of all time Airplane and in one of the classic sci-fi movies of all time, the forbidden planet!

    A friend of mine shared a story about running into Leslie at an airport in Ontario, they struck up a conversation, when Leslie went to leave my friend scrambled for something that Mr. Neilson could sign, all he could find was a napkin, Leslie looked at the napkin and said politely, “no”, then he reached into his bag and pulled out a full sized photo and signed it for my friend, apparently Leslie Neilson was a really decent guy too.

  7. Comedian Spike Milligan once wrote about a friend’s passing, and said, “The world is a colder place without him.”

    I think the sentiment definitely applies to Leslie Nielsen.

  8. So many of the ‘in jokes’ that my oldest friends and I have are based upon the Airplane series. Raising a glass to Shirley tonight.

  9. I will miss this guy…. we used to see him jogging in mc cormick ranch in scottsdale az back when he lived there. Always was willing to talk with folks, be it in the stores or on the street. Talent aside, this was a class act man. My family and I missed him before when he moved… now theres always going to be that void. Today when the angles laugh, we will know who is cracking the jokes.

  10. Sad that he’s gone, and he will be missed. I know i’ll be celebrating his memory by watching one of his films soon. Oddly i’ve been thinking about him a lot these past few months, i kept lamenting that he hasn’t done any films lately.

    Wonder if there’s any places that have any nifty Forbidden Planet posters along the likes of the signed picture up above in the article.

  11. Acting talent is one of Canada’s great exports, and he’s one of the greatest of the greats. Surely, he will be missed.


  12. I was shocked to hear this. He will be sorely missed. Just seeing Nielsen’s face could always make me chuckle.

  13. My favorite part of Police Squad was the guest stars. They always got killed during the opening credits.

  14. Now I’m sad twice . . . I loved ‘Due South’, too. Paul and Leslie were also pretty good together in ‘Men with Brooms’.

  15. I guess the opening of Forbidden Planet is where George Lucas got the idea for the scrolling text in Star Wars?

    Police Squad was soooo under-rated and made me laugh until I cried as a teenager. He will be missed.

  16. His first appearance in Due South was my favourite, he went through his entire career from dramatic leading man to comedy lead in the course of one episode, all played beautifully.

  17. He was the best. I wondered what he was up to these days. Now that he’s dead, I hope he’s loving it.

  18. and dont forget his science endevour “Sea Nasties” for National Geographic videos- a great poisonous sea creature vhs that my kids wore out. Lion Fish!!

  19. Here’s Leslie Nielsen in a Throbbing Gristle video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vr-aUoKPnkI I don’t know if it’s an official music video, or what movie or tv show the clip was taken from, but it was uploaded Jan. 3, 2010. Surely it’s odd that he and Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson died (on arrival) four days apart.

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