Leslie Nielsen, who went from drama to inspired bumbling as a hapless doctor in Airplane! and accident-prone detective Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun comedies, has died at the age of 84.
His agent John Kelly said Nielsen died on Sunday at a hospital near his home in Fort. Lauderdale, Florida, where he was being treated for pneumonia.
Canadian-born Nielsen came to Hollywood in the mid-1950s after performing in 150 live television dramas in New York.
With a craggily handsome face, blond hair and 6ft2ins height, he seemed ideal for a leading man.
He quickly became known as a serious actor, although behind the camera he was a prankster – an aspect of his personality never exploited until disaster spoof Airplane! was released in 1980 and became a huge hit.