Sad news comes to us this morning that comedy legend Leslie Nielsen has passed away from complications from pneumonia, that arose while he was fighting a staph affection. He was 84 years old.

Nielsen will likely be best remembered for his appearances in spoof TV and films, including Airplane!, Police Squad and The Naked Gun series. However his CV stretches all the way back to the 1950’s and includes plenty of dramatic roles, including Forbidden Planet, The Poseidon Adventure and Creepshow.

Undoubtedly the quality of his later work fell away a little, with the likes of Stan Helsing, Scary Movie 4 and Superhero Movie representing something of a fall from grace when compared the high water mark of The Naked Gun and Airplane! But nothing can diminish the impact, the goodwill, the comedy force of those earlier appearances, with favourite quotes/lines already permeating the Internet across Twitter and other sites.

Nielsen had a genuine warmth and a steadfast commitment to not take himself too seriously that always came across in interviews (often held in the company of his hand-held fart-noise device). Anyone familiar with his work will be sad to hear that he has passed and will remember with a fond smile his many laugh out loud hilarious performances. For me, the exchange I always come back to is this one, from Airplane! between Nielsen’s concerned Doctor and the pilot, played by Lorne Green:-

Rumack: Captain, how soon can you land?
Captain Oveur: I can’t tell.
Rumack: You can tell me. I’m a doctor.
Captain Oveur: No. I mean I’m just not sure.
Rumack: Well, can’t you take a guess?
Captain Oveur: Well, not for another two hours.
Rumack: You can’t take a guess for another two hours?

Comedy gold, folks and all delivered with the straightest of straight faces.

Leslie Nielsen is survived by his fourth wife, Barbaree Nielsen and his two children from his second marriage, Thea and Maura. Rest in peace, Lt Drebin.

Please feel free to comment below with your favourite lines from his films.

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Dave has been writing for HeyUGuys since mid-2010 and has found them to be the most intelligent, friendly, erudite and insightful bunch of film fans you could hope to work with. He's gone from ham-fisted attempts at writing the news to interviewing Lawrence Bender, Renny Harlin and Julian Glover, to writing articles about things he loves that people have actually read. He has fairly broad tastes as far as films are concerned, though given the choice he's likely to go for Con Air over Battleship Potemkin most days. He's pretty sure that 2001: A Space Odyssey is the most overrated mess in cinematic history.