Ed Driscoll

Surely They Can't Be Serious

Actor Leslie Nielsen is dead at age 84, according to Manitoba’s CJOB-68 station:

Canadian funnyman and actor Leslie Nielsen has passed away in hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.The star of comedy hits such as “Airplane” and the “Naked Gun” series dies of complications from pneumonia, according to his nephew Doug Nielsen, who lives in Richmond…

Click over for an audio interview.

Nielsen’s remarkable career spans deadly-serious roles in the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet, the heavy in the infamous, but oh-so-1970s box office bomb Viva Knievel, and a guest starring role as an army general in an early episode of TV’s M*A*S*H (still played relatively straight), before his career was revitalized in the Zucker Brothers’ epochal 1980 comedy Airplane! Assuming reports of his death are accurate, one of his last roles was in David Zucker’s conservative 2008 film, An American Carol.

Update: Showbiz site TMZ sites Nielsen’s agent, reporting that he “tells TMZ Nielsen passed surrounded by his wife and friends at about 5:34 PM ET.”

Breaking News Online adds:

Canadian comedy actor Leslie Nielsen, famous from movies such as “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun”, died at a hospital in Florida on late Sunday afternoon, his agent confirmed. He was 84.”We are sadden 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,” said John S. Kelly, Nielsen’s agent.

He added: “Mr. Nielsen, 84, died of complications of pneumonia in a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, surrounded by his lovely wife and dear friends.”

Kelly said that Nielsen, who had been hospitalized for nearly two weeks as a result of pneumonia, said the actor died at 5.34 p.m. EST.

The Cinema Blend Website has a nice obit for Nielsen and his lengthy career.