Canadian actor-comedian Leslie Nielsen, who went from drama to inspired bumbling as a hapless doctor in Airplane! and the accident-prone Det. Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun comedies, has died. He was 84.
His agent, John S. Kelly, said Nielsen died Sunday at a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he was being treated for pneumonia.
Nielson, who was born in Regina, went 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.