November 28, 2010

Leslie Nielsen (1926-2010)

Canadian comedic actor Leslie Nielsen died today after a bout with pneumonia. He was 84.

Today, Nielsen is probably best known for his deadpan comedic roles, especially in Airplane! and the Naked Gun movies. But he spent the first part of his career as a serious dramatic actor on both film and television. It was his second film role that made him famous: starring in 1956's Forbidden Planet as John J. Adams, a James Kirk-type spaceship commander. (Forbidden Planet - one of my favourite science-fiction films - was one of the main inspirations for Star Trek, which just goes to show that Canadians make the best starship captains. Oh, and Firefly too.)

A little-known fact outside of Canada is that Nielson's older brother Erik was a longtime Member of Parliament for Yukon and a Cabinet minister during the Conservative governments of the 1980s. This relationship was named in the (in)famous mockumentary The Canadian Conspiracy as the connection to a Canadian government conspiracy to subvert American media.

Rest in peace, Lt. Drebin.