Comic Actor Leslie Nielsen Dies of Pneumonia


Actor Leslie Nielsen who appeared in more than 100 films died last night in a hospital near his home in Ft. Lauderdale of complications due to pneumonia. He was 84 years old.

Pneumonia is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Pneumonia is an infection that occurs in the lungs and can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Over 3 million people develop pneumonia each year and 5% will die from it yearly.

Most people associated Nielsen with classic comedies such as Airplane!" and the "Naked Gun" however his career started off as a serious actor. Nielsen played Debbie Reynolds' boyfriend in the 1957 film "Tammy and the Bachelor," and a revolutionary war fighter Francis Marion in the Disney TV adventure series "The Swamp Fox."

Some people may remember that Nielsen was captain of the doomed ocean liner in the 1972 disaster movie "The Poseidon Adventure." What people did not realize was behind the serious handsome Nielsen was a comedian waiting to be born.


His career finally changed when he stared in the spoof airplane disaster movie "Airplane." Nielsen showed his real comic side working with actors Robert Stack, Peter Graves and Lloyd Bridges. Hollywood noticed his comic style and quickly cast him in "Naked Gun."

Nielsen was not the first famous person to die from pneumonia. Fred Astaire, Jim Backus, Charles Bronson, James Brown, Jim Henson, Bob Hope, Shari Lewis, Bernie Mac, Charles Nelson Reilly, George Peppard, Lawrence Welk, and Luciano Pavarotti were just a few legends that died from complecations of pneumonia.

Nielsen's later movies included "All I Want for Christmas" in 1991, "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" in 1995, "Spy Hard" in 1996 and "Mr. Magoo" in 1997. He also toured with the one-man show on the life of defense lawyer Clarence Darrow.

Nielsen had two daughters and was married three times. Hollywood will miss the funny white haired man that made everyone forget their troubles just for a brief moment.

LA Times